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K.C.M.G., F.R.G.S., &c, &c, &c. 


VOL. I. 







Who respect and honour the name of Richard Burton, 
the Soldier, Linguist, Scholar, Explorer and Discoverer, 
Poet, Author, and Benefactor to Science ; in recognition 
of the labours of a long and honourable life, devoted to 
the Service of his Country, and to the advancement of its 
Knowledge and of its Literature. 








From a Photo by Gunn & Stuart, Biehvnond, S 


Xyt7*~4i^£ (yS^^Zr^S 








K.C.M.G., F.R.G. S., &c, &c, &c. 


" Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians ; as no unbeliever is 
permitted to enter the city, our travellers are silent." — Gibbon, chap. 50. 

(Wetnonaf Bbition. 








(All rights reserved.) 

Printed for the Publishers at 

The Meccan Press, 
3, Soho Square, London, W. 

' G^ /-O/"^^ _?G-G~?>- -?G£G>~ 

Dark and the Desert and Destriers me ken, 

And the Glaive and the Joust, and Paper and Pen. 





Preface to the Memorial Edition - - - - xv 

Preface to the Third Edition ----- xix 

Preface to the First Edition ----- X xv 

Part I. — Al-Misr. 

I. — To Alexandria. A Few Words concerning 

what induced me to a Pilgrimage - - i 

II. — I leave Alexandria - - - - - 16 

III.— The Nile Steamboat.— The "Little Asth- 
matic" ------- 29 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah 41 

V. — The Ramazan ------ 74 

VI. — The Mosque 90 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo - - - 115 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez 141 

IX. — Suez - - - - - - - 160 

X.— The Pilgrim Ship 186. 

xii Contents. 

Chapter. Page 

XL — To Yambu' - - 207 

XII.— The Halt at Yambu' - - - - 225 

XIII. — From Yambu' to Bir Abbas - - - 243 

XIV. — From Bir Abbas to Al-Madinah - 264 

Part II. — Al-Madinah. 

XV.— Through the Suburb of Al-Madinah to 

Hamid's House ----- 285 

XVI.— A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb - 304 

XVII. — An Essay towards the History of the 

Prophet's Mosque- - 343 

XVIII.— Al-Madinah 376 

XIX.— A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba - 398 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzah's Tomb - - 416 


Portrait of Lady Burton - - to face Title Page 

Map of Sir R. F. Burton's Route - to face P. i 

The Face Veil ....... 229 

The Mahmil, en deshabille - 223 

An Arab Shaykh in his Travelling Dress to face 235 

The Lisam 235 

The Jambiyah ....._. 236 

View of Al-Madinah, from the West - to face 285 

Plan of the Harim, or the Prophet's Mosque 

at Al-Madinah - to face 308 

Plan of the Hujrah - - - - - - 317 

Plan of the Three Tombs 324 

View of Al-Madinah .... to face 377 

Sketch of Al-Madinah, by a Native Artist to face 391 

Plan of Al-Madinah .... to face 392 

Musalla al-Nabi, the Prophet's Place of 

Prayer ------ to face 396 

The Takht-rawan ----- to face 418 

Plan of Hamzah's Mosque ----- 426 

Abdullah's Mark 432 




ZU (NUtnoriaf (BMfton, 

After my beloved husband had passed away 
from amongst us, after the funeral had taken place, 
and I had settled in England, I began to think in 
what way I could render him the most honour. 
A material Monument to his memory has already 
been erected by his countrymen in the shape of a hand- 
some contribution to the beautiful Mausoleum-tent 
in stone and marble to contain his remains ; 
but I also hoped to erect a less material, but more 
imperishable, Monument to his name, by making 
this unique hero better known to his countrymen by 
his Works, which have hitherto not been sufficiently 
known, not extensively enough published, and issued 
perhaps at a prohibitive price. Viewing the long 
list of Works written by him between 1842 and 1890, 
many of which are still unpublished, I was almost 
disheartened by the magnitude of the work, until 
the Publishers, Messrs. Tylston and Edwards, fully 
appreciating the interest with which the British Pub- 
lic had followed my husband's adventurous career and 
fearless enterprise, arranged to produce this uniform 
Memorial Edition at their own expense. 

xvi Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Mr. Leonard Smithers, a man of great literary 
talent and of indefatigable energy, who admired and 
collaborated with my husband in the traduction of 
Latin Classics for two years before he died, has also 
kindly volunteered to be my working assistant and to 
join with me in the editing. 

My part is to give up all my copyrights, and to 
search out such papers, annotations, and latest notes 
and corrections, as will form the most complete work; 
also to write all the Prefaces, and to give every assist- 
ance in my power as Editress. 

The Memorial Edition commences with the 
present " Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah," 
which will be followed at intervals by others of my 
husband's works. Since this " Memorial Edition'' was 
arranged, and the Prospectus issued, I have parted 
with the Copyright of my husband's famous transla- 
tion of the " Arabian Nights" to the Publishers, and 
they are arranging to bring out that work at an early 
date, and as nearly as possible uniform in appear- 
ance with the Memorial Edition. 

The ornamentations on the binding are, a figure 
of my husband in his Arab costume, his monogram 
in Arabic, and, on the back of the book, the tent which 
is his tomb. 

Both the publishers and myself have to thank 
Mr. Smithers for the infinite trouble he has taken in 
collating the first, second, third and fourth editions 
of the 'Pilgrimage' with Sir Richard's own original 
annotated copies. All the lengthy notes and appen- 
dices of the first edition have been retained, and 
these are supplemented by the notes and appendices 
in the later editions, as well as by the author's MS. 
notes. He has adopted Sir Richard's latest and 

Preface to the Memorial Edition. xvii 

most correct orthography of Arabic words, and has 
passed the sheets through the press. Following my 
husband's plan in " The Thousand Nights and a 
Night," he has put the accents on Arabic words only 
the first time of their appearance, to show how they 
ought to be ; thinking it unnecessary to preserve 
throughout, what is an eyesore to the reader and a 
distress to the printer. So it is with Arabic books, — 
the accents are only put for the early student ; after- 
wards, they are left to the practical knowledge of the 
reader. All the original coloured illustrations of the 
first edition, and also the wood engravings of the later 
issues, are reproduced for the first time in one 
uniform edition. The map and plans are fac-similies 
of those in the latest (fourth) edition. In fact, every- 
thing has been done to make this book worthy of its 
author and of the public's appreciation. 

For those who may not know the import of "A 
Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah," in 1853, they 
will not take it amiss when I say that there are Holy 
Shrines of the Moslem world in the far-away Desert, 
where no white man, European, or Christian, could 
enter (save as a Moslem), or even approach, without 
certain death. They are more jealously guarded 
than the " Holy Grail," and this Work narrates how 
this Pilgrimage was accomplished. My husband had 
lived as a Dervish in Sind, which greatly helped him ; 
and he studied every separate thing until he was 
master of it, even apprenticing himself to a blacksmith 
to learn how to make horse-shoes and to shoe his own 
horses. It meant living with his life in his hand, 
amongst the strangest and wildest companions, adopt- 
ing their unfamiliar manners, living for nine months 
in the hottest and most unhealthy climate, upen 
vol i. b 

xviii Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

repulsive food ; it meant complete and absolute iso- 
lation from everything that makes life tolerable, 
from all civilisation, from all his natural habits ; 
the brain at high tension, but the mind never wav- 
ering from the role he had adopted ; but he liked 
it, he was happy in it, he felt at home in it, and in 
this Book he tells you how he did it, and what he 

Sir Richard Burton died at the age of 70, on 
the 20th October, 1890. During the last 48 years of 
his life, he lived only for the benefit and for the wel- 
fare of England and of his countrymen, and of the 
Human Race at large. Let us reverently raise up this 
" Monument," acre perenniiis, to his everlasting 

Isabel Burton. 
May 24, 1893. 





After a lapse of twenty-five years, a third edition of 
my Pilgrimage has been called for by the public, to whom 
I take this opportunity of returning thanks. Messrs. 
Mullan have chosen the very best opportunity. My two 
publications concerning the Khedival Expeditions to 
Midian("The Gold Mines of Midian," and "The Land 
of Midian Revisited"), are, as I have stated in the 
Preface, sequels and continuations of this Pilgrimage 
from which the adventures forming their subject may be 
said to date. 

The text has been carefully revised, and the "bag- 
gage of notes" has been materially lightened. 1 From the 
Appendix I have removed matter which, though useful 
to the student, is of scant general interest. The quaint 
and interesting "Narrative and Voyages ...,udo' : cus 
Vertomannus, Gentleman of Rome," need no longer be 
read in extracts, when the whole has been printed by the 
Hakluyt Society. (The Travels of Ludovico di Var- 
thema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, 
in Persia, India, and Ethiopia, a.d. 1503 to 1508. Trans- 
lated from the original Italian edition of 15 10, with a 
Preface by John Winter Jones, Esq., F.S.A., and edited, 

1 These omitted notes and appendices have all been restored to 
the present Edition. 

xx Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

with notes and an Introduction, by George Percy Badger, 
late Government Chaplain in the Presidency of Bombay. 
London.) On the other hand, I have inserted after the 
Appendix, with the permission of the author, two highly 
interesting communications from Dr. Aloys Sprenger, the 
well-known Orientalist and Arabist, concerning the routes 
of the Great Caravans. My friend supports his suspicions 
that an error of direction has been made, and geographers 
will enjoy the benefit of his conscientious studies, topo- 
graphical and linguistic. 

The truculent attacks made upon pilgrims and Dar- 
wayshes call for a few words of notice. Even that learned 
and amiable philanthropist, the late Dr. John Wilson of 
Bombay ("Lands of the Bible," vol. ii., p. 302) alludes, 
in the case of the Spaniard Badia, alias Ali Bey al-Abbasi, 
to the "unjustifiable fanciful disguise of a Mohammedan 
Pilgrim." The author of the Ruddy Goose Theory ("Voice 
of Israel from Mount Sinai") and compiler of the "His- 
torical Geography of Arabia" has dealt a foul blow to 
the memory of Burckhardt, the energetic and inoffensive 
Swiss traveller, whose name has ever been held in the 
highest repute. And now the " Government Chaplain " 
indites (Introduction, p. xxvii.) the following invidious 
remarks touching the travels of Ludovico di Varthema 
— the vir Deo cams, be it remarked, of the learned and 
laical Julius Caesar Scaliger: 

"This is not the place to discuss the morality of an 
act involving the deliberate and voluntary denial of what 
a man holds to be truth in a matter so sacred as that of 
Religion. Such a violation of conscience is not justifiable 
by the end which the renegade (!) may have in view, 
however abstractedly praiseworthy it may be ; and even 
granting that his demerit should be gauged by the amount 
of knowledge which he possesses of what is true and 
what false, the conclusion is inevitable, that nothing 
short of utter ignorance of the precepts of his faith, or a 

Preface to the Third Edition. xxi 

conscientious disbelief in them, can fairly relieve the 
Christian, who conforms to Islamism without a corres- 
ponding persuasion of its verity, of the deserved odium 
all honest men attach to apostasy and hypocrisy." 

The reply to this tirade is simply, " Judge not; especi- 
ally when you are ignorant of the case which you are 
judging." Perhaps also the writer may ask himself, Is 
it right for those to cast stones who dwell in a tenement 
not devoid of fragility ? 

The second attack proceeds from a place whence no 
man would reasonably have expected it. The author of 
the "Narrative of a Year's Journey through Central and 
Eastern Arabia" (vol. i., pp. 258-59) thus expresses his 
opinions : — 

"Passing oneself off for a wandering Darweesh, as 
some European explorers have attempted to do in the 
East, is for more reasons than one a very bad plan. It 
is unnecessary to dilate on that moral aspect of the pro- 
ceeding which will always first strike unsophisticated 
minds. To feign a religion which the adventurer himself 
does not believe, to perform with scrupulous exactitude, 
as of the highest and holiest import, practices which he 
inwardly ridicules, and which he intends on his return to 
hold up to the ridicule of others, to turn for weeks and 
months together the most sacred and awful bearings of 
man towards his Creator into a deliberate and truthless 
mummery, not to mention other and yet darker touches, 
— ail this seems hardly compatible with the character of 
a European gentleman, let alone that of a Christian." 

This comes admirably a propos from a traveller who, 
born a Protestant, of Jewish descent, placed himself "in 
connection with," in plain words took the vows of, "the 
order of the Jesuits," an order "well-known in the annals 
of philanthropic daring"; a popular preacher who de- 
claimed openly at Bayrut and elsewhere against his own 
nation, till the proceedings of a certain Father Michael 

xxii Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Cohen were made the subject of an official report by 
Mr. Consul-General Moore (Bayrut, November n, 1857); 
an Englishman by birth who accepted French protection, 
a secret mission, and the "liberality of the present Em- 
peror of the French"; a military officer travelling in the 
garb of what he calls a native (Syrian) "quack" with a 
comrade who "by a slight but necessary fiction 
passed for his brother-in-law 1 "; a gentleman who by 
return to Protestantism violated his vows, and a traveller 
who was proved by the experiment of Colonel (now Sir 
Lewis) Pelly to have brought upon himself all the perils 
and adventures that have caused his charming work to 
be considered so little worthy of trust. Truly such attack 
argues a sublime daring. It is the principle of " vieille 
coquette, nouvelle devote " ; it is Satan preaching against 
Sin. Both writers certainly lack the " giftie " to see 
themselves as others see them. 

In noticing these extracts my object is not to defend 
myself : I recognize no man's right to interfere between a 
human being and his conscience. But what is there, I 
would ask, in the Moslem Pilgrimage so offensive to 
Christians — what makes it a subject of "inward ridicule"? 
Do they not also venerate Abraham, the Father of the 
Faithful ? Did not Locke, and even greater names, hold 
Mohammedans to be heterodox Christians, in fact Arians 
who, till the end of the fourth century, represented the 
mass of North-European Christianity? Did Mr. Lane 
neverconform by praying at a Mosque in Cairo ? did he 
ever fear to confess it ? has he been called an apostate for 
so doing? Did not Father Michael Cohen prove himself 
an excellent Moslem at Wahhabi-land. 

The fact is, there are honest men who hold that Al- 

1 The brother-in-law, Barakat J'rayj'ray, has since that time 
followed suit: educated at the Jesuit college of Mu'allakah (Libanus) 
he has settled as a Greek Catholic priest at the neighbouring town 
of Zahleh. 

Preface to the Third Edition. xxiii 

Islam, in its capital tenets, approaches much nearer to the 
faith of Jesus than do the Pauline and Athanasian modi- 
fications which, in this our day, have divided the Indo- 
European mind into Catholic and Roman, Greek and 
Russian, Lutheran and Anglican. The disciples of Dr. 
Daniel Schenkel's school ("A Sketch of the Character of 
Jesus," Longmans, 1869) will indeed find little difficulty 
in making this admission. Practically, a visit after Arab 
Meccah to Angle- Indian Aden, with its " priests after the 
order of Melchisedeck," suggested to me that the Moslem 
may be more tolerant, more enlightened, more charitable, 
than many societies of self-styled Christians. 

And why rage so furiously against the " disguise of 
a wandering Darwaysh?" In what point is the Dar- 
waysh more a mummer or in what does he show more 
of betise than the quack ? Is the Darwaysh anything but 
an Oriental Freemason, and are Freemasons less Chris- 
tians because they pray with Moslems and profess their 
belief in simple unitarianism ? 

I have said. And now to conclude. 

After my return to Europe, many inquired if I was 
not the only living European who has found his way to 
the Head Quarters of the Moslem Faith. I may answer 
in the affirmative, so far, at least, that when entering the 
penetralia of Moslem life my Eastern origin was never 
questioned, and my position was never what cagots would 
describe as in loco apostatce. 

On the other hand, any Jew, Christian, or Pagan, 
after declaring before the Kazi and the Police Authori- 
ties at Cairo, or even at Damascus, that he embraces 
Al- Islam, may perform, without fear of the so-called 
Mosaic institution, "Al-Sunnah," his pilgrimage in all 
safety. It might be dangerous to travel down the Desert- 
line between Meccah and Al-Madinah during times of 
popular excitement; but the coast route is always safe. 
To the "new Moslem," however, the old Moslem is rarely 

xxiv Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccali. 

well affected; and the former, as a rule, returns home 
unpleasantly impressed by his experiences. 

The Eastern world moves slowly — eppuv si muovc. 
Half a generation ago steamers were first started to 
Jeddah: now we hear of a projected railroad from that 
port to Meccah, the shareholders being all Moslems. 
And the example of Jerusalem encourages us to hope 
that long before the end of the century a visit to Meccah 
will not be more difficult than a trip to Hebron. 

Ziyadeh hadd-i-adab ! 

Richard F. Burton. 

London, 31st March, 1879. 

*!!! Jos _lJi 




The interest just now felt in everything that relates 
to the East would alone be sufficient to ensure to the 
author of " El Medinah and Meccah " the favourable 
consideration of the Reading Public. But when it is 
borne in mind that since the days of William Pitts of 
Exeter (a.d. 1678 — 1688) no European travellers, with 
the exception of Burckhardt 1 and Lieut. Burton, 2 have 
been able to send us back an account of their travels 
there, it cannot be doubted but that the present work 
will be hailed as a welcome addition to our knowledge of 
these hitherto mysterious penetralia of Mohammedan 
superstition. In fact, El Madinah may be considered 
almost a virgin theme ; for as Burckhardt was prostrated 
by sickness throughout the period of his stay in the 
Northern Hejaz, he was not able to describe it as satis- 
factorily or minutely as he did the Southern country, — 
he could not send a plan of the Mosque, or correct the 
popular but erroneous ideas which prevail concerning it 
and the surrounding city. 

The reader may question the propriety of introducing 

1 In 1811. 

2 Captain Sadlier is not mentioned, as his Frankish dress pre- 
vented his entering the city. 

xxvi Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

in a work of description, anecdotes which may appear 
open to the charge of triviality. The author's object, 
however, seems to be to illustrate the peculiarities of the 
people — to dramatise, as it were, the dry journal of a 
journey, — and to preserve the tone of the adventures, 
together with that local colouring in which mainly con- 
sists "V education d'un voyage." For the same reason, the 
prayers of the "Visitation" ceremony have been trans- 
lated at length, despite the danger of inducing tedium ; 
they are an essential part of the subject, and cannot be 
omitted, nor be represented by " specimens." 

The extent of the Appendix requires some explana- 
tion. Few but literati are aware of the existence of 
Lodovico Bartema's naive recital, of the quaint narrative 
of Jos. Pitts, or of the wild journal of Giovanni Finati. 
Such extracts have been now made from these writers 
that the general reader can become acquainted with the 
adventures and opinions of the different travellers who 
have visited El Hejaz during a space of 350 years. Thus, 
with the second volume of Burckhardt's Travels in 
Arabia, the geographer, curious concerning this portion 
of the Moslem's Holy Land, possesses all that has as yet 
been written upon the subject. 

The editor, to whom the author in his absence has 
intrusted his work, had hoped to have completed it by 
the simultaneous publication of the third volume, con- 
taining the pilgrimage to Meccah. The delay, however, 
in the arrival from India of this portion of the MS. has 
been such as to induce him at once to publish El Misr 
and El Medinah. The concluding volume on Meccah is 
now in the hands of the publisher, and will appear in the 
Autumn of the present year. Meanwhile the Public will 
not lose sight of the subject of Arabia. Part of El Hejaz 
has lately been inspected by M. Charles Didier, an 
eminent name in French literature, and by the Abbe 
Hamilton, — persuaded, it is believed, by our author to 

Preface to the First Edition. xxvii 

visit Taif and Wady Laymum. Though entirely uncon- 
nected with the subjects of Meccah and El Medinah, the 
account of the Sherif 's Court where these gentlemen were 
received with distinction, and of the almost unknown 
regions about Jebel Kora, will doubtless'^be welcomed by 
the Orientalists and Geographers of Europe. 

Mr. Burton is already known by his " History of 
Sindh." And as if to mark their sense of the spirit of 
observation and daring evinced by him when in that 
country, and still more during his late journeyings in 
Arabia and East Africa, the Geographical Society, 
through their learned Secretary, Dr. Norton Shaw, have 
given valuable aid to this work in its progress through 
the press, supplying maps where necessary to complete 
the illustrations supplied by the author, — who, it will be 
perceived, is himself no mean draughtsman. 

It was during a residence of many years in India 
that Mr. Burton had fitted himself for his late undertak- 
ing, by acquiring, through his peculiar aptitude for such 
studies, a thorough acquaintance with various dialects of 
Arabia and Persia ; and, indeed, his Eastern cast of 
features {vide Frontispiece, Vol. II.) seemed already to 
point him out as the very person of all others best suited 
for an expedition like that described in the following 

It will be observed that in writing Arabic, Hindoo- 
stannee, Persian, or Turkish words, the author has 
generally adopted the system proposed by Sir William 
Jones and modified by later Orientalists. 1 But when a 
word (like Fatihah for Fat-hah) has been " stamped" by 
general popular use, the conversational form has been 

i The orthography of Eastern words has been revised for this 
Edition by Mr. Leonard C. Smithers, from Sir R. F. Burton's MS. 
corrections, and in accordance with the orthography of Sir Richard's 
most recent Oriental Work, " The Book of the Thousand Nights and 
a Night." 

xxviii Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

preferred ; and the same, too, may be said of the common 
corruptions, Cairo, Kadi, &c, which, in any other form, 
would appear to us pedantic and ridiculous. Still, in the 
absence of the author, it must be expected that some 
trifling errors and inaccuraces will have here and there 
have crept in. In justice to others and himself, the 
Editor, however, feels bound to acknowledge, with much 
gratitude, that where such or even greater mistakes have 
been avoided, it has been mainly due to the continued 
kindness of an Eastern scholar of more than European 
reputation, — who has assisted in revising the sheets before 
finally consigning them to the printer. 

Let us hope that the proofs now furnished of untiring 
energy and capacity for observation and research by our 
author, as well as his ability to bear fatigue and exposure 
to the most inclement climate, will induce the Govern- 
ments of this country and of India to provide him with 
men and means (evidently all that is required for the 
purpose) to pursue his adventurous and useful career in 
other countries equally difficult of access, and, if possible, 
of still greater interest, than the Eastern shores of the 
Red Sea. 

Thomas L. Wolley. 
Hampton Court Palace, 
June, 1855. 



F. R. SOC, M. R. G. SOC, M. R. A. SOC, 


I do not parade your name, my dear Colonel, in the 
van of this volume, after the manner of that acute 
tactician who stuck a Koran upon his lance in order to 
win a battle. Believe me it is not my object to use your 
orthodoxy as a cover to my heresies of sentiment and 
science, in politics, political economy and — what not ? 

But whatever I have done on this occasion, — if I 
have done any thing, — has been by the assistance of a 
host of friends, amongst whom you were ever the fore- 
most. And the highest privilege I aim at is this oppor- 
tunity of publicly acknowledging the multitude of 
obligations owed to you and to them. Accept, my dear 
Colonel, this humble return for your kindness, and ever 
believe me, 

The sincerest of your well wishers, 

Richard F. Burton. 



CTMLitk Holboml C 


Outward Ret 







A few Words concerning what induced me to a Pilgrimage. 

In the autumn of 1852, through the medium of my 
excellent friend, the late General Monteith, I offered 
my services to the Royal Geographical Society of 
London, for the purpose of removing that opprobrium 
to modern adventure, the huge white blot which in our 
maps still notes the Eastern and the Central regions of 
Arabia. Sir Roderick I. Murchison, Colonel P. Yorke 
and Dr. Shaw, a deputation from that distinguished body, 
with their usual zeal for discovery and readiness to en- 
courage the discoverer, honoured me by warmly support- 
ing, in a personal interview with the then Chairman of 
the then Court of Directors to the then Honourable East 
India Company, my application for three years' leave of 
absence on special duty from India to Maskat. But 
they were unable to prevail upon the said Chairman, the 
late Sir James Hogg, who, 1 remembering the fatalities 
which of late years have befallen sundry soldier-travellers 
in the East, refused his sanction, alleging as a reason 1 

1 "Remembering .... reason," afterwards altered by the author to 
" much disliking, if fact must be told, my impolitic habit of 
telling political truths, (in 1851 I had submitted to the Court of Di- 
rectors certain remarks upon the subject of Anglo-Indian misrule : I 
VOL. I. I 

2 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

that the contemplated journey was of too dangerous a 
nature. In compensation, however, for the disappoint- 
ment, I was allowed the additional furlough of a year, in 
order to pursue my Arabic studies in lands where the 
language is best learned. 

What remained for me but to prove, by trial, that 
what might be perilous to other travellers was safe to 
me ? The " experimentum crucis " was a visit to Al-Hijaz, 
at once the most difficult and the most dangerous point by 
which a European can enter Arabia. I had intended, 
had the period of leave originally applied for been granted, 
to land at Maskat — a favourable starting-place — and 
there to apply myself, slowly and surely, to the task of 
spanning the deserts. But now I was to hurry, in the 
midst of summer, after a four years' sojourn in Europe, 
during which many things Oriental had faded away from 
my memory, and — after passing through the ordeal of 
Egypt, a country where the police is curious as in 
Rome or Milan — -to begin with the Moslem's Holy Land, 
the jealously guarded and exclusive Harim. However, 
being liberally supplied with the means of travel by the 
Royal Geographical Society ; thoroughly tired of " pro- 
gress " and of " civilisation ;" curious to see with my eyes 
what others are content to " hear with ears," namely, 
Moslem inner life in a really Mohammedan country ; and 
longing, if truth be told, to set foot on that mysterious 
spot which no vacation tourist has yet described, mea- 
sured, sketched and photographed, I resolved to resume 
my old character of a Persian wanderer, 1 a " Darwaysh," 
and to make the attempt. 

need hardly say that the publication was refused with many threats), 
and not unwilling to mortify my supporter (his colleague, Colonel 
W. Sykes), refused his sanction, alleging as a no : reason," et seq. 

i The vagrant, the merchant, and the philosopher, amongst 
Orientals, are frequently united in the same person. 

/. — To Alexandria. 3 

The principal object with which I started was this : 
to cross the unknown Arabian Peninsula, in a direct 
line from either Al-Madinah to Maskat, or diagonally 
from Meccah to Makallah on the Indian Ocean. By 
what "Circumstance, the miscreator " my plans were 
defeated, the reader will discover in the course of these 
volumes. The secondary objects were numerous. I was 
desirous to find out if any market for horses could be 
opened between Central Arabia and India, where the 
studs were beginning to excite general dissatisfaction ; 
to obtain information concerning the Great Eastern 
wilderness, the vast expanse marked Rub'a al- Khali (the 
" Empty Abode ") in our maps ; to inquire into the hydro- 
graphy of the Hijaz, its water-shed, the disputed slope 
of the country, and the existence or non-existence of 
perennial streams ; and finally, to try, by actual observa- 
tion, the truth of a theory proposed by Colonel W. Sykes, 
namely, that if tradition be true, in the population of the 
vast Peninsula there must exist certain physiological 
differences sufficient to warrant our questioning the 
common origin of the Arab family. As regards horses, 
I am satisfied that from the Eastern coast something 
might be done,— nothing on the Western, where the 
animals, though thorough-bred, are mere " weeds," of a 
foolish price and procurable only by chance. Of the 
Rub'a al- Khali I have heard enough, from credible re- 
lators, to conclude that its horrid depths swarm with a 
large and half-starving population ; that it abounds in 
Wadys, valleys, gullies and ravines, partially fertilised by 
intermittent torrents ; and, therefore, that the land is 
open to the adventurous traveller. Moreover, I am satis- 
fied, that in spite of all geographers, from Ptolemy to 
Jomard, Arabia, which abounds in fiumaras, 1 possesses not 

1 In a communication made to the Royal Geographical Society, 
and published in the 24th vol. of the Journal, I have given my reasons 
for naturalising this word. It will be used in the following pages to 

4 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

a single perennial stream worthy the name of river; 1 and 
the testimony of the natives induces me to think, with 
Wallin, contrary to Ritter and others, that the Peninsula 
falls instead of rising towards the south. Finally, I have 
found proof, to be produced in a future part of this publica- 
tion, for believing in three distinct races, i . The aborigines 
of the country, driven like the Bhils and other autoch- 
thonic Indians, into the eastern and south-eastern wilds 
bordering upon the ocean. 2. A Syrian or Mesopotamian 
stock, typified by Shem and Joktan, that drove the Indi- 
gent from the choicest tracts of country ; these invaders 
still enjoy their conquests, representing the great Arabian 
people. And 3. An impure Syro-Egyptian clan — we per- 
sonify it by Ishmael, by his son Nabajoth, and by Edom, 
(Esau, the son of Isaac) — that populated and still 
populates the Sinaitic Peninsula. And in most places, 
even in the heart of Meccah, I met with debris of hea- 
thenry, proscribed by Mohammed, yet still popular, while 
the ignorant observers of the old customs assign to them 
a modern and a rationalistic origin. 

I have entitled this account of my summer's tour 
through Al-Hijaz, a Personal Narrative, and I have 
laboured to make its nature correspond with its name, 
simply because "it is the personal that interests man- 
kind." Many may not follow my example ; 2 but some 

express a "hill water-course, which rolls a torrent after rain, and is 
either partially or wholly dry during the droughts." It is, in fact, 
the Indian " Nullah, or Nala." 

1 "In provinciis Arabum, ait Ibn Haukal, nullus dignoscitur 
fluvius, aut mare quod navigia ferat." This truth has been disputed, 
but now it is generally acknowledged. 

2 A French traveller, the Viscount Escayrac de Lanture, was liv- 
ing at Cairo as a native of the East, and preparing for a pilgrimage 
when I was similarly engaged. Unfortunately he went to Damascus, 
where some disturbance compelled him to resume his nationality. 
The only European I have met with who visited Meccah without 

/. — To Alexandria. 5 

perchance will be curious to see what measures I adopted, 
in order to appear suddenly as an Eastern upon the stage 
of Oriental life ; and as the recital may be found useful 
by future adventurers, I make no apology for the egotisti- 
cal semblance of the narrative. Those who have felt 
the want of some " silent friend " to aid them with 
advice, when it must not be asked, will appreciate what 
may appear to the uninterested critic mere outpourings 
of a mind full of self. 1 

On the evening of April 3, 1853, I left London for 
Southampton. By the advice of a brother officer, 
Captain (now Colonel) Henry Grindlay, of the Bengal 
Cavalry, — little thought at that time the adviser or the 
advised how valuable was the suggestion ! — my Eastern 
dress was called into requisition before leaving town, and 
all my " impedimenta " were taught to look exceedingly 
Oriental. Early the next day a " Persian Prince," ac- 
companied by Captain Grindlay, embarked on board the 
Peninsular and Oriental Company's magnificent screw 
steamer " Bengal." 

apostatising, is M. Bertolucci, Swedish Consul at Cairo. This gentle- 
man persuaded the Badawin camel men who were accompanying him 
to Taif to introduce him in disguise : he naively owns that his terror 
of discovery prevented his making any observations. Dr. George A. 
Wallin, of Finland, performed the Hajj in 1845 ; but his " somewhat 
perilous position, and the filthy company of Persians," were effectual 
obstacles to his taking notes. 

1 No one felt the want of this " silent friend " more than myself ; 
for though Eastern Arabia would not have been strange to me, the 
Western regions were a terra incognita. Through Dr. Norton Shaw, 
Secretary to the Royal Geographical Society, I addressed a paper full 
of questions to Dr. Wallin, professor of Arabic at the University of 
Helsingfors. But that adventurous traveller and industrious Orientalist 
was then, as we afterwards heard with sorrow, no more ; so the queries 
remained unanswered. In these pages I have been careful to solve all 
the little financial and domestic difficulties, so perplexing to the 
"freshman," whom circumstances compel to conceal his freshness 
from the prying eyes of friends. 

6 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

A fortnight was profitably spent in getting into the 
train of Oriental manners. For what polite Chesterfield 
says of the difference between a gentleman and his 
reverse,— namely, that both perform the same offices of 
life, but each in a several and widely different way — is 
notably as applicable to the manners of the Eastern as 
of tHe Western man. Look, for instance, at that Indian 
Moslem drinking a glass of water. With us the opera- 
tion is simple enough, but his performance includes no 
fewer than five novelties. In the first place he clutches 
his tumbler as though it were the throat of a foe ; 
secondly, he ejaculates, " In the name of Allah the Com- 
passionate, the Merciful !" before wetting his lips ; thirdly, 
he imbibes the contents, swallowing them, not sipping 
them as he ought to do, and ending with a satisfied 
grunt ; fourthly, before setting down the cup, he sighs 
forth, "Praise be to Allah!" — of which you will under- 
stand the full meaning in the Desert ; and, fifthly, he 
replies, " May Allah make it pleasant to thee !" in answer 
to his friend's polite " Pleasurably and health !" Also he 
is careful to avoid the irreligious action of drinking the 
pure element in a standing position, mindful, however, 
of the three recognised exceptions, the fluid of the Holy 
W r ell Zemzem, water distributed in charity, and that 
which remains after Wuzu, the lesser ablution. More- 
over, in Europe, where both extremities are used indis- 
criminately, one forgets the exclusive use of the right 
hand, the manipulation of the rosary, the abuse of the 
chair, — your genuine Oriental gathers up his legs, looking 
almost as comfortable in it as a sailor upon the back of a 
high-trotting horse — the rolling gait with the toes straight 
to the front, the grave look and the habit of pious ejacu- 

Our voyage over the " summer sea " was eventless. 
In a steamer of two or three thousand tons you discover 

/. — To Alexandria. 7 

the once dreaded, now contemptible, " stormy waters" only 
by the band — a standing nuisance be it remarked — 

" There we lay 

All the day, 

In the Bay of Biscay, O !" 

The sight of glorious Trafalgar 1 excites none of the 
sentiments with which a tedious sail used to invest it. 
" Gib " is, probably, better known to you, by Theophile 
Gautier and Eliot Warburton, than the regions about 
Cornhill ; besides which, you anchor under the Rock 
exactly long enough to land and to breakfast. Malta, 
too, wears an old familiar face, which bids you order a 
dinner and superintend the iceing of claret (beginning of 
Oriental barbarism), instead of galloping about on donkey- 
back through fiery air in memory of St. Paul and White- 
Cross Knights. But though our journey might be called 
monotonous, there was nothing to complain of. The ship 
was in every way comfortable ; the cook, strange to say, 
was good, and the voyage lasted long enough, and not 
too long. On the evening of the thirteenth day after our 
start, the big-trowsered pilot, so lovely in his deformities 
to western eyes, made his appearance, and the good screw 
" Bengal " found herself at anchor of! the Headland of 
Clay. 2 

Having been, invited to start from the house of a 
kindfriend, John W. Larking, I disembarked with him, and 

1 "Then came Trafalgar: would that Nelson had known the 
meaning of that name ! it would have fixed a smile upon his dying 
lips !" so says the Rider through the. Nubian Desert, giving us in a 
foot note the curious information that " Trafalgar " is an Arabic 
word, which means the " Cape of Laurels." Trafalgar is nothing but 
a corruption of Tarf al-Gharb — the side or skirt of the West ; it being 
the most occidental point then reached by Arab conquest. 

2 In Arabic " Ras al-Tin," the promontory upon which immortal 
Pharos once stood. It is so called from the argile there found and 
which supported an old pottery. 

8 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

rejoiced to see that by dint of a beard and a shaven head 
I had succeeded, like the Lord of Geesh, in "misleading 
the inquisitive spirit of the populace." The mingled herd 
of spectators before whom we passed in review on the 
landing-place, hearing an audible " Alhamdolillah" 1 whis- 
pered "Muslim!" The infant population spared me the 
compliments usually addressed to hatted heads ; and when 
a little boy, presuming that the occasion might possibly 
open the hand of generosity, looked in my face and exclaimed 
" Bakhshish,"' 2 he obtained in reply a "Mafish ;" 3 which 
convinced the bystanders that the sheep-skin covered a 
real sheep. We then mounted a carriage, fought our 
way through the donkeys, and in half an hour found our- 
selves, chibuk in mouth and coffee-cup in hand, seated 
on the diwan of my friend Larking's hospitable home. 

Wonderful was the contrast between the steamer 
and that villa on the Mahmudiyah canal ! Startling the 
sudden change from presto to adagio life ! In thirteen 
days we had passed from the clammy grey fog, that at- 

i " Praise be to Allah, Lord of the (three) worlds !" a pious 
ejaculation, which leaves the lips of the True Believer on all occasions 
of concluding actions. 

2 " Bakhshish," says a modern writer, " is a fee or present which 
the Arabs (he here means the Egyptians, who got the word from the 
Persians through the Turks,) claim on all occasions for services you 
render them, as well as for services they have rendered you. A 
doctor visits a patient gratis, — the patient or his servant will ask for a 
bakhshish (largesse) ; you employ, pay, clothe, and feed a child — the 
father will demand his bakhshish ; you may save the life of an Arab, 
at the risk of your own, and he will certainly claim a bakhshish. This 
bakhshish, in fact, is a sort of alms or tribute, which the poor Arab 
believes himself entitled to. claim from every respectable-looking 

3 Mafish, " there is none," equivalent to, "I have left my purse at 
home." Nothing takes the Oriental mind so much as a retort alliter- 
ative or jingling. An officer in the Bombay army (Colonel Hamerton) 
once saved himself from assault and battery by informing a furious 
band of natives, that under British rule " harakat na hui, barakat hui," 
•'blessing hath there been to you ; bane there hath been none." 

/. — To Alexandria. 9 

mosphere of industry which kept us at anchor off the Isle 
of Wight, through the loveliest air of the Inland Sea, 
whose sparkling blue and purple haze spread charms even 
on N. Africa's beldame features, and now we are sitting 
silent and still, listening to the monotonous melody of the 
East — the soft night-breeze wandering through starlit 
skies and tufted trees, with a voice of melancholy mean- 

And this is the Arab's Kayf. The savouring of 
animal existence ; the passive enjoyment of mere sense ; 
the pleasant languor, the dreamy tranquillity, the airy 
castle-building, which in Asia stand in lieu of the vigorous, 
intensive, passionate life of Europe. It is the result of a 
lively, impressible, excitable nature, and exquisite sensi- 
bility of nerve ; it argues a facility for voluptuousness un- 
known to northern regions, where happiness is placed in 
the exertion of mental and physical powers ; where Ernst 
ist das Leben ; where niggard earth commands ceaseless 
sweat of face, and damp chill air demands perpetual 
excitement, exercise, or change, or adventure, or dissipa- 
tion, for want of something better. In the East, man 
wants but rest and shade : upon the banks of a bubbling 
stream, or under the cool shelter of a perfumed tree, he 
is perfectly happy, smoking a pipe, or sipping a cup of 
coffee, or drinking a glass of sherbet, but above all 
things deranging body and mind as little as possible ; the 
trouble of conversations, the displeasures of memory, and 
the vanity of thought being the most unpleasant inter- 
ruptions to his Kayf. No wonder that "Kayf" is a word 
untranslatable in our mother-tongue I 1 

" Laudabunt alii claram Rhodon aut Mytelenen." 

Let others describe the once famous Capital of 

1 In a coarser sense " kayf " is applied to all manner of intoxica- 
tion. Sonnini is not wrong when he says, " the Arabs give the name 
of Kayf to the voluptuous relaxation, the delicious stupor, produced 
by the smoking of hemp." 

io Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Egypt, this City of Misnomers, whose dry docks are ever 
wet, and whose marble fountain is eternally dry, whose 
" Cleopatra's Needle * n is neither a needle nor Cleo- 
patra's ; whose " Pompey's Pillar " never had any earthly 
connection with Pompey ; and whose Cleopatra's Baths 
are, according to veracious travellers, no baths at all. 
Yet it is a wonderful place, this " Libyan suburb " of our 
day, this outpost of civilisation planted upon the skirts 
of barbarism, this Osiris seated side by side with Typhon, 
his great old enemy. Still may be said of it, " it ever 
beareth something new 2 ;" and Alexandria, a threadbare 
subject in Bruce's time, is even yet, from its perpetual 
changes, a fit field for modern description. 3 

i Cleopatra's Needle is called by the native Ciceroni " Masallat 
Firaun," Pharaoh's packing needle. What Solomon, and the Jinnis 
and Sikandar zu'l karnain (Alexander of Macedon), are to other 
Moslem lands, such is Pharaoh to Egypt, the " Caesar aut Diabolus" 
of the Nile. The ichneumon becomes "Pharaoh's cat," — even the 
French were bitten and named it, le rat de Pharaon ; the prickly 
pear, " Pharaoh's fig ;" the guinea-worm, " Pharaoh's worm ;" cer- 
tain unapproachable sulphur springs, "Pharaoh's bath;" a mau- 
soleum at Petra, " Pharaoh's palace ;" the mongrel race now 
inhabiting the valley of the Nile is contemptuously named by 
Turks and Arabs "Jins Firaun," or "Pharaoh's Breed ;" and a foul 
kind of vulture (vultur percnopterus, ak baba of the Turks, and ukab 
of Sind), " Pharaoh's hen." This abhorrence of Pharaoh is, how- 
ever, confined to the vulgar and the religious. The philosophers 
and mystics of Al-Islam, in their admiration of his impious daring, 
make him equal, and even superior, to Moses. Sahil, a celebrated 
Sufi, declares that the secret of the soul (i.e., its emanation) was 
first revealed when Pharaoh declared himself a god. And Al- 
Ghazali sees in such temerity nothing but the most noble aspiration 
to the divine, innate in the human, spirit. (Dabistan, vol. iii.) 

2 Aet (ptpei ri kolivov. " Quid novi fert Africa ? " said the Romans. 
"In the same season Fayoles, tetrarch of Numidia, sent from the 
land of Africa to Grangousier, the most hideously great mare that 
was ever seen ; for you know well enough how it is said, that ' Africa 
always is productive of some new thing.' " 

3 Alexandria, moreover, is an interesting place to Moslems, on 
account of the prophecy that it will succeed to the honours of Meccah, 

/. — To Alexandria. n 

The better to blind the inquisitive eyes of servants 
and visitors, my friend, Larking, lodged me in an out- 
house, where I could revel in the utmost freedom of 
life and manners. And although some Armenian Drago- 
man, a restless spy like all his race, occasionally remarked 
voila un Pevsan diablement degage, none, except those 
who were entrusted with the secret, had any idea of the 
part I was playing. The domestics, devout Moslems, 
pronounced me an 'Ajami, 1 a kind of Mohammedan, not 
a good one like themselves, but, still better than nothing. 
I lost no time in securing the assistance of a Shaykh, 2 
and plunged once more into the intricacies of the Faith ; 
revived my recollections of religious ablutions, read the 
Koran, and again became an adept in the art of prostra- 
tion. My leisure hours were employed in visiting the 
baths and coffee-houses, in attending the bazars, and in 
shopping, — an operation which hereabouts consists of 
sitting upon a chapman's counter, smoking, sipping 
coffee, and telling your beads the while, to show that you 
are not of the slaves for whom time is made ; in fact, in 
pitting your patience against that of your adversary, the 
vendor. I found time for a short excursion to a country 
village on the banks of the canal ; nor was an opportunity 
of seeing " Al-nahl," the " Bee-dance," neglected, for it 
would be some months before my eyes might dwell on 
such a pleasant spectacle again. 

" Delicias videam, Nile jocose, tuas ! " 

Careful of graver matters, I attended the mosque, 
and visited the venerable localities in which modern 
Alexandria abounds. Pilgrimaging Moslems are here 

when the holy city falls into the hands of the infidel. In its turn 
Alexandria will be followed by Kairawan (in the Regency of Tunis) ; 
and this by Rashid or Rosetta, which last shall endure to the end of 

i A Persian as opposed to an Arab. 

2 A priest, elder, chieftain, language-master, private-tutor, &c, &c. 

12 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

shown the tomb of Al-nabi Daniyal (Daniel the Prophet), 
discovered upon a spot where the late Sultan Mahmud 
dreamed that he saw an ancient man at prayer. 1 Sikandar 
al-Rumi, the Moslem Alexander the Great, of course left 
his bones in the place bearing his name, or, as he ought 
to have done so, bones have been found for him. Alex- 
andria also boasts of two celebrated Walls — holy men. 
One is Mohammed al-Busiri, the author of a poem 
called Al-Burdah, universally read by the world of Islam, 
and locally recited at funerals and on other solemn occa- 
sions. The other is Abu Abbas al-Andalusi, a sage and 
saint of the first water, at whose tomb prayer is never 
breathed in vain. 

It is not to be supposed that the people of Alexandria 
could look upon my phials and pill-boxes without a 
yearning for their contents. An Indian doctor, too, was 
a novelty to them ; Franks they despised, — but a man who 
had come so far from East and West ! Then there was 
something infinitely seducing in the character of a magi- 
cian, doctor, and fakir, each admirable of itself, thus 
combined to make " great medicine." Men, women, and 
children besieged my door, by which means I could see 
the people face to face, and especially the fair sex, of 
which Europeans, generally speaking, know only the 
worst specimens. Even respectable natives, after wit- 
nessing a performance of " Mandal" and the Magic 
mirror 2 , opined that the stranger was a holy man, gifted 

i The Persians place the Prophet's tomb at Susan or Sus, des- 
cribed by Ibn Haukal (p. 76). The readers of Ibn Batutah may 
think it strange that the learned and pious traveller in his account of 
Alexandria (chap. 2.) makes no allusion to the present holy deceased 
that distinguish the city. All the saints are now clear forgotten. For 
it is the fate of saints, like distinguished sinners, to die twice. 

2 The Mandal is that form of Oriental divination which owes its 
present celebrity in Europe to Mr. Lane. Both it and the magic 
mirror are hackneyed subjects, but I have been tempted to a few 
words concerning them in another part of these volumes. Meanwhile 

I. — To Alexandria. 


with supernatural powers, and knowing everything. One 
old person sent to offer me his daughter in marriage ; he 
said nothing about dowry, — but I thought proper to de- 
cline the honour. And a middle-aged lady proffered me 
the sum of one hundred piastres, nearly one pound ster- 
ling, if I would stay at Alexandria, and superintend the 
restoration of her blind left eye. 

But the reader must not be led to suppose that I 
acted " Carabin " or " Sangrado " without any knowledge 
of my trade. From youth I have always been a dabbler 
in medical and mystical study. Moreover, the practice 
of physic is comparatively easy amongst dwellers in warm 
latitudes, uncivilised peoples, where there is not that com- 
plication of maladies which troubles more polished nations. 
And further, what simplifies extremely the treatment of 
the sick in these parts is the undoubted periodicity of 
disease, reducing almost all to one type — ague. 1 Many 
of the complaints of tropical climates, as medical men 
well know, display palpably intermittent symptoms little 
known to colder countries ; and speaking from individual 
experience, I may safely assert that in all cases of suffer- 
ing, from a wound to ophthalmia, this phenomenon has 
forced itself upon my notice. So much by way of excuse. 
I therefore considered myself as well qualified for the 
work as if I had taken out a buono per Vestero diploma at 
Padua, and not more likely to do active harm than most 
of the regularly graduated young surgeons who start to 
"finish" themselves upon the frame of the British soldier. 

After a month's hard work at Alexandria, I prepared 
to assume the character of a wandering Darwaysh ; after 

I request the reader not to set me down as a mere charlatan ; medi- 
cine in the East is so essentially united with superstitious practices, 
that he who would pass for an expert practitioner, must necessarily 
represent himself an " adept." 

1 Hence the origin, I believe, of the Chronothermal System, a 
discovery which physic owes to my old friend, the late Dr. Samuel 

14 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

reforming my title from " Mirza M1 to " Shaykh " Ab- 
dullah. 2 A reverend man, whose name I do not care to 
quote, some time ago initiated me into his order, the 
Kadiriyah, under the high-sounding name of Bismillah- 
Shah : 3 and, after a due period of probation, he graciously 
elevated me to the proud position of a Murshid, 4 or Master 
in the mystic craft. I was therefore sufficiently well ac- 
quainted with the tenets and practices of these Oriental 
Freemasons. No character in the Moslem world is so 
proper for disguise as that of the Darwaysh. It is assumed 
by all ranks, ages, and creeds ; by the nobleman who has 
been disgraced at court, and by the peasant who is too 
idle to till the ground ; by Dives, who is weary of life, and 
by Lazarus, who begs his bread from door to door. 
Further, the Darwaysh is allowed to ignore ceremony and 
politeness, as one who ceases to appear upon the stage of 
life ; he may pray or not, marry or remain single as he 
pleases, be respectable in cloth of frieze as in cloth of 
gold, and no one asks him — the chartered vagabond — 

i The Persian " Mister." In future chapters the reader will see 
the uncomfortable consequences of my having appeared in Egypt as 
a Persian. Although I found out the mistake, and worked hard to 
correct it, the bad name stack to me ; bazar reports fly quicker and 
hit harder than newspaper paragraphs. 

2 Arab Christians sometimes take the name of "Abdullah," servant 
of Allah — " which," as a modern traveller observes, " all sects and re- 
ligions might be equally proud to adopt." The Moslem Prophet 
said, " the names most approved of God are Abdullah, Abd-al- 
rahman (Slave of the Compassionate), and such like." 

3 " King in-the-name-of- Allah," a kind of Oriental " Praise-God- 
Barebones." When a man appears as a Fakir or Darwaysh, he casts 
off, in process of regeneration, together with other worldly sloughs, 
his laical name for some brilliant coat of nomenclature rich in religi- 
ous promise. 

4 A Murshid is one allowed to admit Murids or apprentices into 
the order. As the form of the diploma conferred upon this occasion 
may be new to many European Orientalists, I have translated it in 
Appendix I. 

/. — To Alexandria. 

1 5 

Why he comes here ? or Wherefore he goes there ? He 
may wend his way on foot alone, or ride his Arab mare 
followed by a dozen servants ; he is equally feared with- 
out weapons, as swaggering through the streets armed to 
the teeth. The more haughty and offensive he is to the 
people, the more they respect him ; a decided advantage 
to the traveller of choleric temperament. In the hour of 
imminent danger, he has only to become a maniac, and 
he is safe ; a madman in the East, like a notably eccentric 
character in the West, is allowed to say or do whatever 
the spirit directs. Add to this character a little know- 
ledge of medicine, a "moderate skill in magic, and a repu- 
tation for caring for nothing but study and books," to- 
gether with capital sufficient to save you from the chance 
of starving, and you appear in the East to peculiar 
advantage. The only danger of the " Mystic Path "* is, 
that the Darwaysh's ragged coat not unfrequently covers 
the cut-throat, and, if seized in the society of such a 
" brother," you may reluctantly become his companion, 
under the stick or on the stake. For be it known, Dar- 
wayshes are of two orders, the Sharai, or those who con- 
form to religion, and the Bi-Sharai, or Luti, whose prac- 
tices are hinted at by their own tradition that " he we 
daurna name" once joined them for a week, but at the 
end of that time left them in dismay, and returned to 
whence he came. 

i The Tarikat or path, which leads, or is supposed to lead, to 




The thorough-bred wanderer's idiosyncracy I pre- 
sume to be a composition of what phrenologists call 
" inhabitiveness" and " locality" equally and largely de- 
veloped. After a long and toilsome march, weary of the 
way, he drops into the nearest place of rest to become the 
most domestic of men. For a while he smokes the "pipe 
of permanence" 1 with an infinite zest ; he delights in 
various siestas during the day, relishing withal deep 
sleep during the dark hours ; he enjoys dining at a fixed 
dinner hour, and he wonders at the demoralisation of the 
mind which cannot find means of excitement in chit-chat 
or small talk, in a novel or a newspaper. But soon the 
passive fit has passed away ; again a paroxysm of ennui 
coming on by slow degrees, Viator loses appetite, he 
walks about his room all night, he yawns at conversa- 
tions, and a book acts upon him as a narcotic. The man 
wants to wander, and he must do so, or he shall die. 

After about a month most pleasantly spent at Alex- 
andria, I perceived the approach of the enemy, and as 
nothing hampered my incomings and outgoings, I sur- 
rendered. The world was " all before me," and there 
was pleasant excitement in plunging single-handed into 
its chilling depths. My Alexandrian Shaykh, whose heart 

i The long pipe which at home takes the place of the shorter 
chibuk used on the road. 

77. — / Leave Alexandria. 17 

fell victim to a new "jubbah," which I had given in ex- 
change for his tattered za'abut 1 offered me, in consideration 
of a certain monthly stipend, the affections of a brother and 
religious refreshment, proposing to send his wife back to 
her papa, and to accompany me, in the capacity of private 
chaplain to the other side of Kaf. 2 I politely accepted 
the " Bruderschaft," but many reasons induced me to 
decline his society and services. In the first place, he 
spoke the detestable Egyptian jargon. Secondly, it was 
but prudent to lose the " spoor " between Alexandria and 
Suez. And, thirdly, my "brother" had shifting eyes 
(symptoms of fickleness), close together (indices of cun- 
ning) ; a flat-crowned head, and large ill-fitting lips ; signs 
which led me to think lightly of his honesty, firmness, 
and courage. Phrenology and physiognomy, be it ob- 
served, disappoint you often amongst civilised people, the 
proper action of whose brain upon the features is impeded 
by the external pressure of education, accident, exam- 
ple, habit, and necessity. But they are tolerably safe 
guides when groping your way through the mind of man 
in his so-called natural state, a being of impulse, in that 
chrysalis condition of mental development which is rather 
instinct than reason. 

Before my departure, however, there was much to be 

The land of the Pharaohs is becoming civilised, and 
unpleasantly so: nothing can be more uncomfortable than 
its present middle state, between barbarism and the re- 
verse. The prohibition against carrying arms is rigid as 
in Italy ; all " violence" is violently denounced ; and be- 

1 The jubbah is a long outer garment, generally of cloth, worn by- 
learned and respectable men. The za'abut is a large bag-sleeved black 
or brown coloured robe made of home-spun woollen, the garb of the 
peasant, the hedge-priest, and the darwaysh. 

2 The mountain which encircles the globe, according to the sacred 
geography of the Moslems. To "go to Kaf" is equivalent to our " go 
to Jericho," or — somewhere else. 

VOL. I. 2 

1 8 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

heading being deemed cruel, the most atrocious crimes, 
as well as those small political offences, which in the days 
of the Mamluks would have led to a beyship or a bow- 
string, receive fourfold punishment by deportation to 
Fayzoghlu, the local Cayenne. If you order your peasant 
to be flogged, his friends gather in threatening hundreds 
at your gates ; when you curse your boatman, he com- 
plains to your consul ; the dragomans afflict you with 
strange wild notions about honesty ; a Government order 
prevents you from using vituperative language to the 
" natives" in general ; and the very donkey boys are be- 
coming cognisant of the right of man to remain un- 
bastinadoed. Still the old leaven remains behind : here, 
as elsewhere in the " Morning-land," you cannot hold 
your own without employing the vote de fait. The pass- 
port system, now dying out of Europe, has sprung up, or 
rather has revived, in Egypt, with peculiar vigour. 1 Its 
good effects claim for it our respect ; still we cannot but 
lament its inconvenience. By we, I mean real Easterns. 
As strangers — even those whose beards have whitened in 
the land — know absolutely nothing of what unfortunate 
natives must endure, I am tempted to subjoin a short 

i Sir G. Wilkinson, referring his readers to Strabo, remarks that 
the "troublesome system of passports seems to have been adopted by 
the Egyptians at a very early period." Its present rigours, which 
have lasted since the European troubles in 1848 and 1849, have a two- 
fold object ; in the first place, to act as a clog upon the dangerous 
emigrants which Germany, Italy, and Greece have sent out into the 
world ; and secondly, to confine the subjects of the present Pasha of 
Egypt to their fatherland and the habit of paying taxes. The en- 
lightened ruler (this was written during the rule of Abbas Pasha) 
knows his own interests, and never willingly parts with a subject liable 
to cess, at times objecting even to their obeying pilgrimage law. We, 
on the other hand, in India, allow a freedom of emigration, in my humble 
opinion, highly injurious to us. For not only does this exodus thin 
the population, and tend to impoverish the land, it also serves to bring 
our rule into disrepute in foreign lands. At another time I shall dis- 
cuss this subject more fully. 

77. — / Leave Alexandria. ig 

sketch of my adventures in search of a Tazkirah, or pass- 
port, at Alexandria. 

Through ignorance which might have cost me dear 
but for friend Larking's weight with the local authorities, 
I had neglected to provide myself with a passport in 
England, and it was not without difficulty, involving 
much unclean dressing and an unlimited expenditure of 
broken English, that I obtained from H. B. M's Consul at 
Alexandria a certificate, declaring me to be an Indo- 
British subject named Abdullah, by profession a doctor, 
aged thirty, and not distinguished — at least so the fre- 
quent blanks seemed to denote — by any remarkable con- 
formation of eyes, nose, or cheek. For this I disbursed 
a dollar. And here let me record the indignation with 
which I did it. That mighty Britain — the mistress of 
the seas — the ruler of one-sixth of mankind — should 
charge five shillings to pay for the shadow of her protect- 
ing wing ! That I cannot speak my modernised "civis sum 
Romanus " without putting my hand into my pocket, in 
order that these officers of the Great Queen may not take 
too ruinously from a revenue of seventy millions ! O the 
meanness of our magnificence ! the littleness of our great- 
ness ! 

My new passport would not carry me without the 
Zabit or Police Magistrate's counter-signature, said 
H.B.M.'s Consul. Next day I went to the Zabit, who re- 
ferred me to the Muhafiz (Governor) of Alexandria, at 
whose gate I had the honour of squatting at least three 
hours, till a more compassionate clerk vouchsafed the in- 
formation that the proper place to apply to was the Diwan 
Kharijiyah (the Foreign Office). Thus a second day was 
utterly lost. On the morning of the third I started, as 
directed, for the Palace, which crowns the Headland of 
Clay. It is a huge and couthless shell of building in 
parallelogrammic form, containing all kinds of public 
offices in glorious confusion, looking with their glaring 

20 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

white-washed faces upon a central court, where a few 
leafless wind-wrung trees seem struggling for the breath 
of life in an eternal atmosphere of clay-dust and sun- 
blaze. 1 

The first person I addressed was a Kawwas 2 or 
police officer, who, coiled comfortably up in a bit of shade 
fitting his person like a robe, was in full enjoyment of the 
Asiatic " Kayf." Having presented the consular certifi- 
cate and briefly stated the nature of my business, I ven- 
tured to inquire what was the right course to pursue for 
a visa. 

They have little respect for Darwayshes, it appears, at 

M'adri — " Don't know," growled the man of autho- 
rity, without moving any thing but the quantity of tongue 
absolutely necessary for articulation. 

Now there are three ways of treating Asiatic officials, 
— by bribe, by bullying, or by bothering them with a 
dogged perseverance into attending to you and your con- 
cerns. The latter is the peculiar province of the poor ; 
moreover, this time I resolved, for other reasons, to be 
patient. I repeated my question in almost the same 
words. Ruh ! "Be off," was what I obtained for all 
reply. But this time the questioned went so far as to 
open his eyes. Still I stood twirling the paper in my 
hands, and looking very humble and very persevering, till a 
loud Ruh ya Kalb ! " Go, O dog!" converted into a 
responsive curse the little speech I was preparing about 

i The glare of Alexandria has become a matter of fable in the 
East. The stucco employed in overlaying its walls, erected by Zul- 
karnayn, was so exquisitely tempered and so beautifully polished, that 
the inhabitants, in order to protect themselves from blindness, were 
constrained to wear masks. 

2 The word literally means "a bowman, an archer," remind- 
ing us of " les archers de la Sainte Hermandade," in the most 
delicious of modern fictions. Some mis-spell the word " Kawas, " 
" Cavass," and so forth ! 

77. — / Leave Alexandria. 


the brotherhood of Al- Islam and the mutual duties ob- 
ligatory on true believers. I then turned away slowly 
and fiercely, for the next thing might have been a cut 
with the Kurbaj, 1 and, by the hammer of Thor ! British 
flesh and blood could never have stood that. 

After which satisfactory scene, — for satisfactory it 
was in one sense, proving the complete fitness of the 
Darwaysh's costume, — I tried a dozen other promiscuous 
sources of information, — policemen, grooms, scribes, 
donkey-boys, and idlers in general. At length, wearied 
of patience, I offered a soldier some pinches of tobacco, 
and promised him an Oriental sixpence if he would manage 
the business for me. The man was interested by the 
tobacco and the pence ; he took my hand, and inquiring 
the while he went along, led me from place to place, till, 
mounting a grand staircase, I stood in the presence of 
Abbas Effendi, Naib or deputy to the Governor. 

It was a little, whey-faced, black-bearded Turk, 
coiled up in the usual conglomerate posture upon a 
calico-covered diwan, at the end of a long, bare, large- 
windowed room. Without deigning even to nod the 
head, which hung over his shoulder with transcendent 
listlessness and affectation of pride, in answer to my 
salams and benedictions, he eyed me with wicked eyes, 
and faintly ejaculated " Min ent' 2 ? " Then hearing that 
I was a Darwaysh and doctor — he must be an Osmanli 
Voltairean, that little Turk — the official snorted a con- 
temptuous snort. He condescendingly added, however, 
that the proper source to seek was " Taht," which, mean- 
ing simply " below," conveyed to an utter stranger rather 
imperfect information from a topographical point of view. 

At length, however, my soldier guide found out that 

i A whip, a cravache of dried and twisted hippopotamus hide, 
the ferule, horsewhip, and " cat o' nine tails " of Egypt. 
2 For " man anta ? " who art thou ? 

22 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

a room in the custom-house bore the honourable appella- 
tion of " Foreign Office." Accordingly I went there, and, 
after sitting at least a couple of hours at the bolted door 
in the noon-day sun, was told, with a fury which made 
me think I had sinned, that the officer in whose charge 
the department was, had been presented with an olive 
branch in the morning, and consequently that business 
was not to be done that day. The angry-faced official 
communicated the intelligence to a large group of Anado- 
lian, Caramanian, Bosniac, and Roumelian Turks, — 
sturdy, undersized, broad-shouldered, bare-legged, splay- 
footed, horny-fisted, dark-browed, honest-looking moun- 
taineers, who were lounging about with long pistols and 
yataghans stuck in their broad sashes, head-gear com- 
posed of immense tarbushes with proportionate turbands 
coiled round them, and bearing two or three suits of sub- 
stantial clothes, even at this season of the year, upon their 

Like myself they had waited some hours, but they 
were not so patient under disappointment : they bluntly 
told the angry official that he and his master were a pair 
of idlers, and the curses that rumbled and gurgled in their 
hairy throats as they strode towards the door sounded 
like the growling of wild beasts. 

Thus was another day truly orientally lost. On the 
morrow, however, I obtained permission, in the character 
of Dr. Abdullah, to visit any part of Egypt I pleased, 
and to retain possession of my dagger and pistols. 

And now I must explain what induced me to take 
so much trouble about a passport. The home reader 
naturally inquires, Why not travel under your English 
name ? 

For this reason. In the generality of barbarous 
countries you must either proceed, like Bruce, preserving 
the "dignity of manhood," and carrying matters with a 
high hand, or you must worm your way by timidity and 

77. — / Leave Alexandria. 23 

subservience ; in fact, by becoming an animal too con- 
temptible for man to let or injure. But to pass through the 
Moslem's Holy Land, you must either be a born believer, 
or have become one ; in the former case you may demean 
yourself as you please, in the latter a path is ready pre- 
pared for you. My spirit could not bend to own myself 
a Burma, 1 a renegade — to be pointed at and shunned 
and catechised, an object of suspicion to the many and of 
contempt to all. Moreover, it would have obstructed 
the aim of my wanderings. The convert is always 
watched with Argus eyes, and men do not willingly give 
information to a " new Moslem," especially a Frank : 
they suspect his conversion to be feigned or forced, look 
upon him as a spy, and let him see as little of life as 
possible. Firmly as was my heart set upon travelling in 
Arabia, by Heaven ! I would have given up the dear 
project rather than purchase a doubtful and partial success 
at such a price. Consequently, I had no choice but to 
appear as a born believer, and part of my birthright in 
that respectable character was toil and trouble in obtain- 
ing a Tazkirah. 2 

Then I had to provide myself with certain neces- 
saries for the way. These were not numerous. The 
silver-mounted dressing-bag is here supplied by a rag 
containing a Miswak 3 or tooth-stick, a bit of soap and 
a comb, wooden, for bone and tortoiseshell are not, re- 
ligiously speaking, correct. Equally simple was my ward- 

1 An opprobrious name given by the Turks to their Christian 
converts. The word is derived from burmak, " to twist, to turn." 

2 During my journey, and since my return, some Indian papers 
conducted by jocose editors made merry upon an Englishman " turn- 
ing Turk." Once for all, I beg leave to point above for the facts of 
the case ; it must serve as a general answer to any pleasant little 
fictions which may hereafter appear. 

3 A stick of soft wood chewed at one end. It is generally used 
throughout the East, where brushes should be avoided, as the natives 
always suspect hogs' bristles. 

24 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

robe ; a change or two of clothing. It is a great mistake 
to carry too few clothes, and those who travel as Orientals 
should always have at least one very grand suit for use on 
critical occasions. Throughout the East a badly dressed 
man is a pauper, and, as in England, a pauper — unless 
he belongs to an order having a right to be poor — is a 
scoundrel. The only article of canteen description was a 
Zemzemiyah, a goat-skin water-bag, which, especially 
when new, communicates to its contents a ferruginous 
aspect and a wholesome, though hardly an attractive, 
flavour of tanno-gelatine. This was a necessary ; to 
drink out of a tumbler, possibly fresh from pig-eating 
lips, would have entailed a certain loss of reputation. 
For bedding and furniture I had a coarse Persian rug — 
which, besides being couch, acted as chair, table, and 
oratory — a cotton-stuffed chintz-covered pillow, a blanket 
in case of cold, and a sheet, which did duty for tent and 
mosquito curtains in nights of heat. 1 As shade is a con- 
venience not always procurable, another necessary was a 
huge cotton umbrella of Eastern make, brightly yellow, 
suggesting the idea of an overgrown marigold. I had 
also a substantial housewife, the gift of a kind relative, 
Miss Elizabeth Stisted ; it was a roll of canvas, carefully 
soiled, and garnished with needles and thread, cobblers' 
wax, buttons, and other such articles. These things 
were most useful in lands where tailors abound not ; 
besides which, the sight of a man darning his coat or 
patching his slippers teems with pleasing ideas of 
humility. A dagger, 2 a brass inkstand and pen-holder 

i Almost all Easterns sleep under a sheet, which becomes a kind 
of respirator, defending them from the dews and mosquitoes by night 
and the flies by day. The " rough and ready " traveller will learn to 
follow the example, remembering that " Nature is founder of Customs 
in savage countries ;" whereas, amongst the soi-disant civilised, Nature 
has no deadlier enemy than Custom. 

2 It is strictly forbidden to carry arms in Egypt. This, however, 
does not prevent their being as necessary — especially in places like 

II. — / Leave Alexandria. 25 

stuck in the belt, and a mighty rosary, which on occasion 
might have been converted into a weapon of offence, 
completed my equipment. I must not omit to mention 
the proper method of carrying money, which in these 
lands should never be entrusted to box or bag. A 
common cotton purse secured in a breast pocket (for 
Egypt now abounds in that civilised animal, the pick- 
pocket 1 ), contained silver pieces and small change. 2 My 
gold, of which I carried twenty-five sovereigns, and papers, 
were committed to a substantial leathern belt of Maghrabi 
manufacture, made to be strapped round the waist 
under the dress. This is the Asiatic method *of conceal- 
ing valuables, and one more civilised than ours in the 
last century, when Roderic Random and his companion 
" sewed their money between the lining and the waist- 
band of their breeches, except some loose silver for im- 

Alexandria, where Greek and Italian ruffians abound — as they ever 
were in Rome or Leghorn during the glorious times of Italian 
" liberty." 

1 In the Azhar Mosque, immediately after Friday service, a fellow 
once put his hand into my pocket, which fact alone is ample evidence 
of " progress." 

2 As a general rule, always produce, when travelling, the minutest 
bit of coin. At present, however, small change is dear in Egypt; the 
Sarrafs, or money-changers, create the dearth in order to claim a 
high agio. The traveller must prepare himself for a most unpleasant 
task in learning the different varieties of currency, which appear all 
but endless, the result of deficiency in the national circulating medium. 
There are, however, few copper coins, the pieces of ten or five faddah 
(or parahs), whereas silver and gold abound. As regards the latter 
metal, strangers should mistrust all small pieces, Turkish as well as 
Egyptian. "The greater part are either cut or cracked, or perhaps 
both, and worn down to mere spangles : after taking them, it 
will not be possible to pass them without considerable loss." 
Above all things, the traveller must be careful never to change 
gold except in large towns, where such a display of wealth would not 
arouse suspicion or cupidity ; and on no occasion when travelling 
even to pronounce the ill-omened word " Kis " (purse). Many have 
lost their lives by neglecting these simple precautions. 

26 Pilgritnage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

mediate expense on the road." The great inconvenience 
of the belt is its weight, especially where dollars must be 
carried, as in Arabia, causing chafes and discomfort at 
night. Moreover, it can scarcely be called safe. In 
dangerous countries wary travellers will adopt surer 
precautions. 1 

A pair of common native Khurjin, or saddle-bags, 
contained my wardrobe ; the bed was readily rolled up into 
a bundle ; and for a medicine chest 2 I bought a pea- 
green box with red and yellow flowers, capable of stand- 
ing falls from a camel twice a day. 

i Some prefer a long chain of pure gold divided into links and 
covered with leather, so as to resemble the twisted girdle which the 
Arab fastens round his waist. It is a precaution well known to the 
wandering knights of old. Others, again, in very critical situations, 
open with a lancet the shoulder, or any other fleshy part of the body, 
and insert a precious stone, which does not show in its novel purse. 

2 Any " Companion to the Medicine Chest " will give, to those 
that require such information, the names of drugs and instruments 
necessary for a journey ; but it must be borne in mind that hot coun- 
tries require double quantities of tonics, and half the allowance of 
cathartics necessary in cold climates. Sonnini, however, is right 
when he says of the Egyptian fellahs, that their stomachs, accustomed 
to digest bread badly baked, acrid and raw vegetables, and other 
green and unwholesome nourishment, require doses fit only for 
horses. Advisable precautions are, in the first place, to avoid, if 
travelling as a native, any signs of European manufacture in knives, 
scissors, weights, scales and other such articles. Secondly, glass 
bottles are useless : the drugs should be stowed away in tin or wooden 
boxes, such as the natives of the country use, and when a phial is 
required, it must be fitted into an etui of some kind. By this means, 
ground glass stoppers and plentiful cotton stuffing, the most volatile 
essences may be carried about without great waste. After six months 
of the driest heat, in Egypt and Arabia, not more than about one- 
fourth of my Prussic acid and chloroform had evaporated. And, 
thirdly, if you travel in the East, a few bottles of tincture of canthar- 
ides — highly useful as a rubefacient, excitant, et cetera — must never 
be omitted. I made the mistake of buying my drugs in England, and 
had the useless trouble of looking after them during the journey. 
Both at Alexandria and Cairo they are to be found in abundance, 
cheaper than in London, and good enough for all practical purposes. 

77. — / Leave Alexandria. 27 

The next step was to find out when the local steamer 
would start for Cairo, and accordingly I betook myself to 
the Transit Office. No vessel was advertised ; I was di- 
rected to call every evening till satisfied. At last the 
fortunate event took place: a ''weekly departure," which, 
by the bye, occurred once every fortnight or so, was in 
orders for the next day. I hurried to the office, but did 
not reach it till past noon — the hour of idleness. A little, 
dark gentleman — Mr. Green — so formed and dressed as 
exactly to resemble a liver-and-tan bull-terrier, who with 
his heels on the table was dosing, cigar in mouth, over 
the last " Galignani," positively refused, after a time, — 
for at first he would not speak at all, — to let me take my 
passage till three in the afternoon. I inquired when the 
boat started, upon which he referred me, as I had spoken 
bad Italian, to the advertisement. I pleaded inability to 
read or write, whereupon he testily cried A lie novel alle 
nove ! — at nine ! at nine ! Still appearing uncertain, I 
drove him out of his chair, when he rose with a curse and 
read 8 a.m. An unhappy Eastern, depending upon what 
he said, would have been precisely one hour too late. 

Thus were we lapsing into the real good old East- 
Indian style of doing business. Thus Anglo- Indicus 
orders his first clerk to execute some commission ; the 
senior, having "work" upon his hands, sends a junior; 
the junior finds the sun hot, and passes on the word to a 
"peon;" the " peon" charges a porter with the errand; 
and the porter quietly sits or doses in his place, trusting 
that Fate will bring him out of the scrape, but firmly 
resolved, though the shattered globe fall, not to stir an 

The reader, I must again express a hope, will pardon 
the length of these descriptions, — my object is to show 
him how business is carried on in these hot countries. 
Business generally. For had I been, not Abdullah the 
Darwaysh, but a rich native merchant, it would have been 

28 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the same. How many complaints of similar treatment 
have I heard in different parts of the Eastern world ! and 
how little can one realise them without having actually 
experienced the evil ! For the future I shall never see a 
" nigger " squatting away half a dozen mortal hours in a 
broiling sun patiently waiting for something or for some 
one, without a lively remembrance of my own cooling of 
the calces at the custom-house of Alexandria. 

At length, about the end of May (1853) all was ready. 
Not without a feeling of regret I left my little room 
among the white myrtle blossoms and the rosy oleander 
flowers with the almond smell. I kissed with humble 
ostentation my good host's hand in presence of his ser- 
vants — he had become somewhat unpleasantly anxious, 
of late, to induce in me the true Oriental feeling, by a 
slight administration of the bastinado — I bade adieu to 
my patients, who now amounted to about fifty, shaking 
hands with all meekly and with religious equality of 
attention ; and, mounted in a " trap " which looked like a 
cross between a wheel-barrow and a dog-cart, drawn by a 
kicking, jibbing, and biting mule, I set out for the steamer, 
the " Little Asthmatic." 

2 9 



In the days of the Pitts we have invariably a " Re- 
lation " of Egyptian travellers who embark for a place 
called " Roseet " on the " River Nilus." Wanderers of 
the Brucean age were wont to record their impressions of 
voyage upon land subjects observed between Alexandria 
and Cairo. A little later we find every one inditing 
rhapsodies about, and descriptions of, his or her Daha- 
biyah (barge) on the canal. After this came the steamer. 
And after the steamer will come the railroad, which may 
disappoint the author tourist, but will be delightful to 
that sensible class of men who wish to get over the 
greatest extent of ground with the least inconvenience to 
themselves and others. Then shall the Mahmudiyah — 
ugliest and most wearisome of canals — be given up to 
cotton boats and grain barges, and then will note-books 
and the headings of chapters clean ignore its existence. 

I saw the canal at its worst, when the water was low ; 
and I have not one syllable to say in its favour. Instead 
of thirty hours, we took three mortal days and nights to 
reach Cairo, and we grounded with painful regularity four 
or five times between sunrise and sunset. In the scenery on 
the banks sketchers and describers have left you nought to 
see. From Pompey's Pillar to the Maison Carree, Kariom 
and its potteries, Al-Birkah 1 of the night birds, Bastarah 

i Villages notorious for the peculiar Egyptian revelry, an un- 
doubted relic of the good old times, when " the most religious of 

30 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

with the alleys of trees, even unto Atfah, all things are 
perfectly familiar to us, and have been so years before 
the traveller actually sees them. The Nil al-Mubarak 
itself — the Blessed Nile, — as notably fails too at this season 
to arouse enthusiasm. You see nothing but muddy waters, 
dusty banks, a sand mist, a milky sky, and a glaring sun : 
you feel nought but a breeze like the blast from a potter's 
furnace. You can only just distinguish through a veil of 
reeking vapours the village Shibr Katt from the village 
Kafr al-Zayyat, and you steam too far from Wardan 
town to enjoy the Timonic satisfaction of enraging its 
male population with " Haykal ! ya ibn Haykal ! O 
Haykal ! — O son of Haykal 1 ! " You are nearly wrecked, 
as a matter of course, at the Barrage ; and you are certainly 
dumbfoundered by the sight of its ugly little Gothic 
crenelles. 2 The Pyramids of Khufa and Khafra (Cheops 

men " revelled at Canopus with an ardent piety in honour of Isis and 

i " Haykal " was a pleasant fellow, who, having basely abused 
the confidence of the fair ones of Wardan, described their charms in 
sarcastic verse, and stuck his scroll upon the door of the village 
mosque, taking at the same time the wise precaution to change his 
lodgings without delay. The very mention of his name affronts the 
brave Wardanenses to the last extent, making them savage as Oxford 

2 The Barrage is a handsome bridge, — putting the style of archi- 
tecture out of consideration,— the work of French engineers, origin- 
ally projected by Napoleon the First. It was intended to act as a 
dam, raising the waters of the Nile and conducting them to Suez, the 
salt lakes, and a variety of other places, through a number of canals, 
which, however, have not yet been opened. Meanwhile, it acts upon 
the river's trunk as did the sea of old upon its embouchures, blocking 
it up and converting the land around it to the condition of a swamp. 
Moreover, it would have cleaned out the bed by means of sluice gates, 
forming an artificial increase of current to draw off the deposit ; but 
the gates are wanting, so the piers, serving only to raise the soil by 
increasing the deposit of silt, collect and detain suspended matter, 
which otherwise would not settle. Briefly, by a trifling expenditure 
the Barrage might be made a blessing to Egypt ; in its present state 

777. — The Nile Steamboat — The " Little Asthmatic." 31 

and Cephren) " rearing their majestic heads above the 
margin of the Desert," only suggest of remark that they 
have been remarkably well-sketched ; and thus you pro- 
ceed till with a real feeling of satisfaction you moor 
alongside of the tumble-down old suburb " Bulak." 

To me there was double dulness in the scenery : it 
seemed to be Sind over again — the same morning mist 
and noon-tide glare ; the same hot wind and heat clouds, 
and fiery sunset, and evening glow ; the same pillars of 
dust and " devils " of sand sweeping like giants over the 
plain ; the same turbid waters of a broad, shallow stream 
studded with sand-banks and silt-isles, with crashing 
earth slips and ruins nodding over a kind of cliff, whose 
base the stream gnaws with noisy tooth. On the banks, 
saline ground sparkled and glittered like hoar-frost in the 
sun ; and here and there mud villages, solitary huts, 
pigeon-towers, or watch turrets, whence little brown boys 
shouted and slung stones at the birds, peeped out from 
among bright green patches of palm-tree, tamarisk, and 
mimosa, of maize, tobacco, and sugar-cane. Beyond the 
narrow tongue of land on the river banks lay the glaring, 
yellow Desert, with its low hills and sand slopes, bounded 
by innumerable pyramids of Nature's architecture. The 
boats, with their sharp bows, preposterous sterns, and 
lateen sails, might have belonged to the Indus. So might 
the chocolate-skinned, blue-robed peasantry ; the women 
carrying progeny on their hips, with the eternal waterpot 
on their heads ; and the men sleeping in the shade or 
following the plough, to which probably Osiris first put 
hand. The lower animals, like the higher, were the same; 
gaunt, mange-stained camels, muddy buffaloes, scurvied 
donkeys, sneaking jackals, and fox-like dogs. Even the 
feathered creatures were perfectly familiar to my eye — 

it is a calamity, an "enormous, cruel wonder," more crushing to the 
people than were 'the pyramids and sphinxes of old. 

32 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

paddy birds, pelicans, giant cranes, kites and wild water- 

I had taken a third-class or deck-passage, whereby 
the evils of the journey were exasperated. A roasting sun 
pierced the canvas awning like hot water through a gauze 
veil, and by night the cold dews fell raw and thick as a 
Scotch mist. The cooking was abominable, and the dig- 
nity of Darwaysh-hood did not allow me to sit at meat 
with Infidels or to eat the food which they had polluted. 
So the Pilgrim squatted apart, smoking perpetually, with 
occasional interruptions to say his prayers and to tell his 
beads upon the mighty rosary ; and he drank the muddy 
water of the canal out of a leathern bucket, and he 
munched his bread and garlic 1 with a desperate sancti- 

The " Little Asthmatic" was densely crowded, and 
discipline not daring to mark out particular places, the 
scene on board of her was motley enough. There were 
two Indian officers, who naturally spoke to none but each 
other, drank bad tea, and smoked their cigars exclusively 

i Those skilled in simples, Eastern as well as Western, praise 
garlic highly, declaring that it "strengthens the body, prepares the 
constitution for fatigue, brightens the sight, and, by increasing the 
digestive power, obviates the ill-effects arising from sudden change of 
air and water." The traveller inserts it into his dietary in some 
pleasant form, as " Provence-butter," because he observes that, 
wherever fever and ague abound, the people, ignorant of cause but 
observant of effect, make it a common article of food. The old 
Egyptians highly esteemed this vegetable, which, with onions and 
leeks, enters into the list of articles so much regretted by the Hebrews 
(Numbers, xi. 5 ; Koran, chap. 2). The modern people of the Nile, 
like the Spaniards, delight in onions, which, as they contain between 
25 and 30 per cent, of gluten, are highly nutritive. In Arabia, how- 
ever, the stranger must use this vegetable sparingly. The city people 
despise it as the food of a Fellah — a boor. The Wahhabis have a pre- 
judice against onions, leeks, and garlic, because the Prophet disliked 
their strong smell, and all strict Moslems refuse to eat them im- 
mediately before visiting the mosque, or meeting for public prayer. 

77/. — The Nile Steamboat — The " Little Asthmatic.'' 33 

like Britons. A troop of the Kurd Kawwas, 1 escorting 
treasure, was surrounded by a group of noisy Greeks ; these 
men's gross practical jokes sounding anything but plea- 
sant to the solemn Moslems, whose saddle-bags and 
furniture were at every moment in danger of being de- 
filed by abominable drinks and the ejected juices of 
tobacco. There was one pretty woman on board, a 
Spanish girl, who looked strangely misplaced — a rose in a 
field of thistles. Some silent Italians, with noisy inter- 
preters, sat staidly upon the benches. It was soon found 
out, through the communicative dragoman, that their 
business was to buy horses for H. M. of Sardinia : they 
were exposed to a volley of questions delivered by a party 
of French tradesmen returning to Cairo, but they shielded 
themselves and fought shy with Machiavellian dexterity. 
Besides these was a German, a " beer-bottle in the morning 
and a bottle of beer in the evening," to borrow a simile from 
his own nation ; a Syrian merchant, the richest and ug- 
liest of Alexandria; and a few French house-painters going 
to decorate the Pasha's palace at Shubra. These last 
were the happiest of our voyagers, — veritable children of 
Paris, Montagnards, Voltaireans, and thoroughbred Sans- 
Soucis. All day they sat upon deck chattering as only 
their lively nation can chatter, indulging in ultra-gallic 
maxims, such as " on ne vieillit jamais a table;" now play- 
ing ecarte for love or nothing, then composing " des pou- 
ches un pen chiques ;" now reciting adventures of the 
category " Mirabolant," then singing, then dancing, then 
sleeping, and rising to play, to drink, talk, dance, and sing 
again. One chaunted : 

" Je n'ai pas connu mon pere 
Ce respectable vieillard. 
Je suis ne trois ans trop tard," &c. ; 
Whilst another trolled out : 

" Qu'est ce que je vois ? 
Un canard en robe de chambre !" 

1 A policeman^see^Chap.J. 
VOL. I. 3 

34 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

They being newcomers, free from the western morgue so soon 
caught by Oriental Europeans, were particularly civil to 
me, even wishing to mix me a strong draught ; but I was 
not so fortunate with all on board. A large shopkeeper 
threatened to "brisev" my "figure" for putting my pipe 
near his pantaloons ; but seeing me finger my dagger 
curiously, though I did not shift my pipe, he forgot to 
remember his threat. I had taken charge of a parcel 

for one M. P , a student of Coptic, and remitted it to 

him on board ; of this little service the only acknowledg- 
ment was a stare and a petulant inquiry why I had not 
given it to him before. And one of the Englishmen, half 
publicly, half privily, as though communing with himself, 
condemned my organs of vision because I happened to 
touch his elbow. He was a man in my own service ; I 
pardoned him in consideration of the compliment paid to 
my disguise. 

Two fellow-passengers were destined to play an im- 
portant part in my comedy of Cairo. Just after we had 
started, a little event afforded us some amusement. On 
the bank appeared a short, crummy, pursy kind of man, 
whose efforts to board the steamer were notably ridiculous. 
With attention divided between the vessel and a carpet-bag 
carried by his donkey boy, he ran along the sides of the 
canal, now stumbling into hollows, then climbing heights, 
then standing shouting upon the projections with the 
fierce sun upon his back, till everyone thought his breath 
was completely gone. But no ! game to the backbone, 
he would have perished miserably rather than lose his 
fare : " patience and perseverance," say the wise, " got a 
wife for his Reverence." At last he was taken on board, 
and presently he lay down to sleep. His sooty, com- 
plexion, lank black hair, features in which appeared 
beaucoup de finesse, that is to say, abundant rascality, an 
eternal smile and treacherous eyes, his gold 1 ring, dress 

i The stricter sort of Moslems, such as the Arabs, will not wear 
gold ornaments, which are forbidden by their law. 

III. — The Nile Steamboat — The " Little Asthmatic. 1 '' 35 

of showy colours, fleshy stomach, fat legs, round back, 
and a peculiar manner of frowning and fawning simul- 
taneously, marked him an Indian. When he awoke he 
introduced himself to me as Miyan Khudabakhsh Namdar, 
a native of Lahore : he had carried on the trade of a 
shawl merchant in London and Paris, where he had lived 
two years, and, after a pilgrimage intended to purge away 
the sins of civilised lands, he had settled at Cairo. 

My second friend, Haji Wali, I will introduce to the 
reader in a future chapter ; and my two expeditions to 
Midian have brought him once more into notice. 1 

Long conversations in Persian and Hindustani 
abridged the tediousness of the voyage, and when we 
arrived at Bulak, the polite Khudabakhsh insisted upon 
my making his house my home. I was unwilling to 
accept the man's civility, disliking his looks ; but he ad- 
vanced cogent reasons for changing my mind. His 
servant cleared my luggage through the custom-house, 
and a few minutes after our arrival I found myself in his 
abode near the Azbakiyah Gardens, sitting in a cool 
Mashrabiyah 2 that gracefully projected over a garden, 
and sipping the favourite glass of pomegranate syrup. 

As the Wakalahs or Caravanserais were at that time 
full of pilgrims, I remained with Khudabakhsh ten days 
or a fortnight. But at the end of that time my patience 
was thoroughly exhausted. My host had become a civilised 
man, who sat on chairs, who ate with a fork, who talked 
European politics, and who had learned to admire, if not to 
understand, liberty — liberal ideas ! and was I not flying 
from such things ? Besides which, we English have a 

1 See " The Gold Mines of Midian," and " The Land of Midian 
(Revisited)," by Sir R. F. Burton. 

2 The projecting latticed window, made of wood richly carved, 
for which Cairo was once so famous. But they are growing out of 
fashion with young Egypt, disappearing before heating glass and 
unsightly green blinds. 

36 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

peculiar national quality, which the Indians, with their 
characteristic acuteness, soon perceived, and described by 
an opprobrious name. Observing our solitary habits, 
that we could not, and would not, sit and talk and sip 
sherbet and smoke with them, they called us " Jangli " — 
wild men, fresh caught in the jungle and sent to rule over 
the land of Hind. 1 Certainly nothing suits us less than 
perpetual society, an utter want of solitude, when one 
cannot retire into, oneself an instant without being asked 
some puerile question by a companion, or look into a book 
without a servant peering over one's shoulder ; when 
from the hour you rise to the time you rest, you must 
ever be talking or listening, you must converse yourself 
to sleep in a public dormitory, and give ear to your com- 
panions' snores and mutterings at midnight. 2 

The very essence of Oriental hospitality, however, 
is this family style of reception, which costs your host 
neither coin nor trouble. I speak of the rare tracts in 
which the old barbarous hospitality still lingers. You 
make one more at his eating tray, and an additional 
mattress appears in the sleeping-room. When you depart, 
you leave if you like a little present, merely for a memo- 
rial, with your entertainer ; he would be offended if you 
offered it him openly as a remuneration, and you give 

1 Caste in India arises from the peculiarly sociable nature of the 
native mind, for which reason "it is found existing among sects 
•whose creeds are as different and as opposite as those of the Hindu 
and the Christian." (B. A. Irving's Prize Essay on the Theory and 
Practice of Caste.) Hence, nothing can be more terrible to a man 
than expulsion from caste ; the excommunication of our feudal times 
was not a more dreadful form of living death. 

2 With us every man's house is his castle. But caste divides a 
people into huge families, each member of which has a right to know 
everything about his " caste-brother," because a whole body might 
be polluted and, degraded by the act of an individual. Hence, there 
is no such thing as domestic privacy, and no system of espionnage de- 
vised by rulers could be so complete as that self-imposed by the 

III. — The Nile Steamboat — The " Little Asthmatic." 37 

some trifling sums to the servants. Thus you will be 
welcome wherever you go. If perchance you are detained 
perforce in such a situation, — which may easily happen 
to you, medical man, — you have only to make yourself 
as disagreeable as possible, by calling for all manner of 
impossible things. Shame is a passion with Eastern 
nations. Your host would blush to point out to you the 
indecorum of your conduct ; and the laws of hospitality 
oblige him to supply the every want of a guest, even 
though he be a detenu. 

But of all Orientals, the most antipathetical com- 
panion to an Englishman is, I believe, an East- Indian. Like 
the fox in the fable, fulsomely flattering at first, he grad- 
ually becomes easily friendly, disagreeably familiar, 
offensively rude, which ends by rousing the " spirit of the 
British lion." Nothing delights the Hindi so much as 
an opportunity of safely venting the spleen with which he 
regards his victors. 1 He will sit in the presence of a 

1 The Calcutta Review (No. 41), noticing " L'Inde sous la Domi- 
nation Anglaise," by the Baron Barchou de Penhoen, delivers the 
following sentiment : " Whoever states, as the Baron B. de P. states 
and repeats, again and again, that the natives generally entertain a 
bad opinion of the Europeans generally, states what is decidedly 
untrue." The reader will observe that I differ as decidedly from 
the Reviewer's opinion. Popular feeling towards the English in India 
was " at first one of fear, afterwards of horror : Hindus and Hindis 
(Moslems) considered the strangers a set of cow-eaters and fire- 
drinkers, tetrse beluae ac molossis suis ferociores, who would fight like 
Iblis, cheat their own fathers, and exchange with the same readiness 
a broadside of shots and thrusts of boarding-pikes, or a bale of goods 
and a bag of rupees." (Rev. Mr. Anderson — The English in Western 
India.) We have risen in a degree above such a low standard of 
estimation ; still, incredible as it may appear to the Frank himself, 
it is no less true, that the Frank everywhere in the East is con- 
sidered a contemptible being, and dangerous withal. As regards 
Indian opinion concerning our government, my belief is, that in and 
immediately about the three presidencies, where the people owe 
everything to and hold everything by our rule, it is most popular. 

38 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinak and Meccah. 

magistrate, or an officer, the very picture of cringing 
submissiveness. But after leaving the room, he is as 
different from his former self as a counsel in court from a 
counsel at a concert, a sea captain at a club dinner from 
a sea captain on his quarter-deck. Then he will discover 
that the English are not brave, nor clever, nor generous, 
nor civilised, nor anything but surpassing rogues ; that 
every official takes bribes, that their manners are utterly 
offensive, and that they are rank infidels. Then he will 
descant complacently upon the probability of a general 
Bartholomew's Day in the East, and look forward to the 
hour when enlightened Young India will arise and drive 
the " foul invader " from the land. 1 Then he will submit 
his political opinions nakedly, that India should be wrested 
from the Company and given to the Queen, or taken 
from the Queen and given to the French. If the Indian 
has been a European traveller, so much the worse for 
you. He has blushed to own, — explaining, however, 
conquest by bribery, — that 50,000 Englishmen hold 
150,000,000 of his compatriots in thrall, and for aught 
you know, republicanism may have become his idol. He 
has lost all fear of the white face, and having been accus- 
tomed to unburden his mind in 

" The land where, girt by friend or foe, 
A man may say the thing he will," — 

he pursues the same course in other lands where it is 
exceedingly misplaced. His doctrines of liberty and 

At the same time I am convinced that in other places the people 
would most willingly hail any change. And how can we hope it to 
be otherwise, — we, a nation of strangers, aliens to the country's cus- 
toms and creed, who, even while resident in India, act the part 
which absentees do in other lands ? Where, in the history of the 
world, do we read that such foreign dominion ever made itself loved ? 
1 This was written three years before the Indian Mutiny. I also 
sent into the Court of Directors a much stronger report — for which 
I duly suffered. 

III. — The Nile Steamboat — The "Little Asthmatic." 39 

equality he applies to you personally and practically, by 
not rising when you enter or leave the room, — at first 
you could scarcely induce him to sit down, — by not offer- 
ing you his pipe, by turning away when you address him ; 
in fact, by a variety of similar small affronts which none 
knows better to manage skilfully and with almost im- 
palpable gradations. If — and how he prays for it ! — an 
opportunity of refusing you anything presents itself, he 
does it with an air. 

" In rice strength, 
In an Indian manliness, 1 " 

say the Arabs. And the Persians apply the following 
pithy tale to their neighbours. " Brother," said the 
leopard to the jackal, " I crave a few of thy cast-off 
hairs ; I want them for medicine ; 2 where can I find 
them ? " " Wa'llahi ! " replied the jackal, " I don't exactly 
know — I seldom change my coat— I wander about the 
hills. Allah is bounteous, 3 brother ! hairs are not so 
easily shed." 

Woe to the unhappy Englishman, Pasha, or private 
soldier, who must serve an Eastern lord ! Worst of all, 
if the master be an Indian, who, hating all Europeans, 4 

1 In the Arabic "Muruwwat," generosity, the noble part of human 
nature, the qualities which make a man. 

2 " For medicine," means for an especial purpose, an urgent occa- 

3 " Allah Karim !" said to a beggar when you do not intend to be 

4 Read an account of Tipu Sahib's treatment of his French em- 
ployes. If Rangit Singh behaved better to his European officers, it 
was only on account of his paramount fear and hatred of the British. 
The Panjabi story of the old lion's death is amusing enough, con- 
trasted with that Anglomania of which so much has been said and 
written. When the Sikh king, they declare, heard of our success in 
Afghanistan — he had allowed us a passage through his dominions, as 
ingress into a deadly trap — his spirits (metaphorically and literally) 
failed him ; he had not the heart to drink, he sickened and he died. 

4-0 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

adds an especial spite to Oriental coarseness, treachery, 
and tyranny. Even the experiment of associating with 
them is almost too hard to bear. But a useful deduction 
may be drawn from such observations ; and as few have 
had greater experience than myself, I venture to express 
my opinion with confidence, however unpopular or un- 
fashionable it may be. 

I am convinced that the natives of India cannot 
respect a European who mixes with them familiarly, or 
especially who imitates their customs, manners, and 
dress. The tight pantaloons, the authoritative voice, the 
pococurante manner, and the broken Hindustani impose 
upon them — have a weight which learning and honesty, 
which wit and courage, have not. This is to them the 
master's attitude : they bend to it like those Scythian 
slaves that faced the sword but fled from the horsewhip. 
Such would never be the case amongst a brave people, 
the Afghan for instance ; and for the same reason it is not 
so, we read, with "White Plume," the North American 
Indian. " The free trapper combines in the eye of an In- 
dian (American) girl, all that is dashing and heroic in a 
warrior of her own race, whose gait and garb and bravery 
he emulates, with all that is gallant and glorious in the 
white man." There is but one cause for this phenome- 
non ; the " imbelles Indi " are still, with few exceptions, 1 
a cowardly and slavish people, who would raise them- 
selves by depreciating those superior to them in the scale 
of creation. The Afghans and American aborigines, being 
chivalrous races, rather exaggerate the valour of their 
foes, because by so doing they exalt their own. 2 

i The Rajputs, for instance, " whose land has ever been the 
focus of Indian chivalry, and the home of Indian heroes." 

2 As my support against the possible, or rather the prob- 
able, imputation of "extreme opinions," I hold up the honoured 
name of the late Sir Henry Elliot (Preface to the Biographical 
Index to the Historians of Mohammedan India). " These idle 

4 1 



The " Wakalah," as the Caravanserai or Khan is 
called in Egypt, combines the offices of hotel, lodging- 
house, and store. It is at Cairo, as at Constantinople, a 
massive pile of buildings surrounding a quadrangular 
" Hosh " or court-yard. On the ground-floor are rooms 
like caverns for merchandise, and shops of different kinds 
— tailors, cobblers, bakers, tobacconists, fruiterers, and 
others. A roofless gallery or a covered verandah, into 
which all the apartments open, runs round the first and 
sometimes the second story : the latter, however, is 
usually exposed to the sun and wind. The accommoda- 
tions consist of sets of two or three rooms, generally an 
inner one and an outer ; the latter contains a hearth for cook- 
ing, a bathing-place, and similar necessaries. The stair- 
cases are high, narrow, and exceedingly dirty; dark at 
night, and often in bad repair ; a goat or donkey is tethered 
upon the different landings ; here and there a fresh skin 
is stretched in process of tanning, and the smell reminds 
the veteran traveller of those closets in the old French 

vapourers (bombastic Babus, and other such political ranters), should 
learn that the sacred spark of patriotism is exotic here, and can 
never fall on a mine that can explode ; for history will show 
them that certain peculiarities of physical, as well as moral organi- 
sation, neither to be strengthened by diet nor improved by educa- 
tion, have hitherto prevented their ever attempting a national inde- 
pendence ; which will continue to exist to them but as a name, and 
as an offscouring of college declamations." 

42 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

inns where cat used to be prepared for playing the part 
of jugged hare. The interior is unfurnished ; even the 
pegs upon which clothes are hung have been pulled down 
for fire-wood : the walls are bare but for stains, thick 
cobwebs depend in festoons from the blackened rafters of 
the ceiling, and the stone floor would disgrace a civilised 
prison : the windows are huge apertures carefully barred 
with wood or iron, and in rare places show remains of 
glass or paper pasted over the framework. In the court- 
yard the poorer sort of travellers consort with tethered 
beasts of burden, beggars howl, and slaves lie basking 
and scratching themselves upon mountainous heaps of 
cotton bales and other merchandise. 

This is not a tempting picture, yet is the Wakalah a 
most amusing place, presenting a succession of scenes 
which would delight lovers of the Dutch school — a rich 
exemplification of the grotesque, and what is called by 
artists the " dirty picturesque." 

I could find no room in the Wakalah Khan Khalil, 
the Long's, or Meurice's of native Cairo ; I was therefore 
obliged to put up with the Jamaliyah, a Greek quarter, 
swarming with drunken Christians, and therefore about 
as fashionable as Oxford Street or Covent Garden. 
Even for this I had to wait a week. The pilgrims were 
flocking to Cairo, and to none other would the prudent 
hotel keepers open their doors, for the following sufficient 
reasons. When you enter a Wakalah, the first thing you 
have to do is to pay a small sum, varying from two to 
five shillings, for the Miftah (the key). This is generally 
equivalent to a month's rent ; so the sooner you leave the 
house the better for it. I was obliged to call myself a 
Turkish pilgrim in order to get possession of two most 
comfortless rooms, which I afterwards learned were cele- 
brated for making travellers ill ; and I had to pay eighteen 
piastres for the key and eighteen ditto per mensem for 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 43 

rent, besides five piastres to the man who swept and 
washed the place. So that for this month my house-hire 
amounted to nearly four pence a day. 

But I was fortunate enough in choosing the Jama- 
liyah Wakalah, for I found a friend there. On board 
the steamer a fellow-voyager, seeing me sitting alone and 
therefore as he conceived in discomfort, placed himself 
by my side and opened a hot fire of kind inquiries. He 
was a man about forty-five, of middle size, with a large 
round head closely shaven, a bull-neck, limbs sturdy as 
a Saxon's, a thin red beard, and handsome features 
beaming with benevolence. A curious dry humour he 
had, delighting in " quizzing," but in so quiet, solemn, 
and quaint a way that before you knew him you could 
scarcely divine his drift. 

11 Thank Allah, we carry a doctor !" said my friend 
more than once, with apparent fervour of gratitude, after 
he had discovered my profession. I was fairly taken in 
by the pious ejaculation, and some days elapsed before 
the drift of his remark became apparent. 

" You doctors," he explained, when we were more 
intimate, " what do you do ? A man goes to you for 
ophthalmia : it is a purge, a blister, and a drop in the 
eye ! Is it for fever ? well ! a purge and kinakina 
(quinine). For dysentery ? a purge and extract of opium. 
Wa'llahi ! I am as good a physician as the best of you," 
he would add with a broad grin, " if I only knew the 
Dirham-birhams, 1 — drams and drachms, — and a few break- 
jaw Arabic names of diseases." 

Haji Wali 2 therefore emphatically advised me to 

1 The second is an imitative word, called in Arabic grammar 
Tabi'a, as " Zayd Bayd," " Zayd and others ;" so used, it denotes 
contempt for drachms and similar parts of drug-craft. 

2 This familiar abbreviation of Wali al-Din was the name 
assumed by the enterprising traveller, Dr. Wallin. 

44 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

make bread by honestly teaching languages. " We are 
doctor-ridden," said he, and I found it was the case. 

When we lived under the same roof, the Haji and I 
became fast friends. During the day we called on each 
other frequently, we dined together, and passed the 
evening in a Mosque, or some other place of public pas- 
time. Coyly at first, but less guardedly as we grew 
bolder, we smoked the forbidden weed " Hashish, 1 " con- 
versing lengthily the while about that world of which I 
had seen so much. Originally from Russia, he also had 
been a traveller, and in his wanderings he had cast off most 
of the prejudices of his people. " I believe in Allah and 
his Prophet, and in nothing else," was his sturdy creed; 
he rejected alchemy, jinnis and magicians, and truly he 
had a most unoriental distaste for tales of wonder. When 
I entered the Wakalah, he constituted himself my cicerone, 
and especially guarded me against the cheating of trades- 
men. By his advice I laid aside the Darwaysh's gown, the 
large blue pantaloons, and the short shirt ; in fact all con- 
nection with Persia and the Persians. " If you persist in 
being an ' Ajami," said the Haji, "you will get yourself into 
trouble ; in Egypt you will be cursed ; in Arabia you will 
be beaten because you are a heretic ; you will pay the 
treble of what other travellers do, and if you fall sick you 
may die by the roadside." After long deliberation about 

i By the Indians called Bhang, the Persians Bang, the Hottentots 
Dakha, and the natives of Barbary Fasukh. Even the Siberians, we 
are told, intoxicate themselves by the vapour of this seed thrown 
upon red-hot stones. Egypt surpasses all other nations in the 
variety of compounds into which this fascinating drug enters, and 
will one day probably supply the Western world with " Indian hemp," 
when its solid merits are duly appreciated. At present in Europe it 
is chiefly confined, as cognac and opium used to be, to the apothe- 
cary's shelves. Some adventurous individuals at Paris, after the 
perusal of Monte Christo, attempted an " orgie " in one of the cafes, 
but with poor success. 

IV. — Life in the Wahalah. 45 

the choice of nations, I became a " Pathan. 1 " Born in India 
of Afghan parents, who had settled in the country, edu- 
cated at Rangoon, and sent out to wander, as men of that 
race frequently are, from early youth, I was well guarded 
against the danger of detection by a fellow-countryman. 
To support the character requires a knowledge of Per- 
sian, Hindustani and Arabic, all of which I knew suffi- 
ciently well to pass muster ; any trifling inaccuracy was 
charged upon my long residence at Rangoon. This was 
an important step ; the first question at the shop, on the 
camel, and in the Mosque, is "What is thy name?" the 
second, " Whence comest thou ?" This is not generally 
impertinent, or intended to be annoying ; if, however, you 
see any evil intention in the questioner, you may rather 
roughly ask him, " What may be his maternal parent's 
name?" — equivalent to enquiring, Anglice, in what church 
his mother was married, — and escape your difficulties 
under cover of the storm. But this is rarely necessary. I 
assumed the polite, pliant manners of an Indian physician, 
and the dress of a small EfFendi (or gentleman), still, how- 
ever, representing myself to be a Darwaysh, and frequenting 
the places where Darwayshes congregate. " What busi- 
ness," asked the Haji, "have those reverend men with 
politics or statistics, or any of the information which you 
are collecting ? Call yourself a religious wanderer if you 
like, and let those who ask the object of your peregrinations 
know that you are under a vow to visit all the holy places 
in Al-Islam. Thus you will persuade them that you are a 

1 The Indian name of an Afghan, supposed to be a corruption of 
the Arabic Fat'han (a conqueror), or a derivation from the Hindu- 
stani paithna, to penetrate (into the hostile ranks). It is an honour- 
able term in Arabia, where " Khurasani " (a native of Khorasan), 
leads men to suspect a Persian, and the other generic appellation of 
the Afghan tribes " Sulaymani," a descendant from Solomon, reminds 
the people of their proverb, " Sulaymani harami ! " — " the Afghans are 
ruffians !" 

46 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

man of rank under a cloud, and you will receive much 
more civility than perhaps you deserve," concluded my 
friend with a dry laugh. The remark proved his sagacity ; 
and after ample experience I had not to repent having 
been guided by his advice. 

Haji Wali, by profession a merchant at Alexandria, 
had accompanied Khudabakhsh, the Indian, to Cairo on 
law-business. He soon explained his affairs to me, and 
as his case brought out certain Oriental peculiarities in a 
striking light, with his permission I offer a few of its 

My friend was defendant in a suit instituted against 
him in H.B.M.'s Consular Court, Cairo, by one Mohammed 
Shafi'a, a scoundrel of the first water. This man lived, 
and lived well, by setting up in business at places where 
his name was not known ; he enticed the unwary by 
artful displays of capital ; and, after succeeding in 
getting credit, he changed residence, carrying off all he 
could lay hands upon. But swindling is a profession 
of personal danger in uncivilised countries, where law 
punishes pauper debtors by a short imprisonment ; 
and where the cheated prefer to gratify their revenge 
by the cudgel or the knife. So Mohammed Shafi'a, 
after a few narrow escapes, hit upon a prime ex- 
pedient. Though known to be a native of Bokhara — he 
actually signed himself so in his letters, and his appear- 
ance at once bespoke his origin, — he determined to protect 
himself by a British passport. Our officials are some- 
times careless enough in distributing these documents, 
and by so doing they expose themselves to a certain loss 
of reputation at Eastern courts 1 ; still Mohammed Shafi'a 

1 For the simple reason that no Eastern power confers such an 
obligation except for value received. In old times, when official 
honour was not so rigorous as it is now, the creditors of Eastern 
powers and principalities would present high sums to British Resi- 
dents and others for the privilege of being enrolled in the list of their 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 47 

found some difficulties in effecting his fraud. To recount 
all his Reynardisms would weary the reader ; suffice it to 
say that by proper management of the subalterns in the 
consulate, he succeeded without ruining himself. Armed 
with this new defence, he started boldly for Jeddah on the 
Arabian coast. Having entered into partnership with 
Haji Wali, whose confidence he had won by prayers, 
fastings, and pilgrimages, he openly trafficked in slaves, 
sending them to Alexandria for sale, and writing with 
matchless impudence to his correspondent that he would 
dispose of them in person, but for fear of losing his 
British passport and protection. 

Presently an unlucky adventure embroiled this 
worthy British subject with Faraj Yusuf, the principal 
merchant of Jeddah, and also an English protege. Fear- 
ing so powerful an adversary, Mohammed Shafi'a packed 
up his spoils and departed for Egypt. Presently he 
quarrels with his former partner, thinking him a soft man, 
and claims from him a debt of ^"165. He supports his 
pretensions by a document and four witnesses, who are 
ready to swear that the receipt in question was " signed, 
sealed, and delivered" by Haji Wali. The latter adduces 
his books to show that accounts have been settled, and 
can prove that the witnesses in question are paupers, 
therefore, not legal ; moreover, that each has received 
from the plaintiff two dollars, the price of perjury. 

subjects or servants. This they made profitable ; for their claims, 
however exorbitant, when backed by a name of fear, were certain 
to be admitted, unless the Resident's conscience would allow of his 
being persuaded by weightier arguments of a similar nature to aban- 
don his protege. It is almost needless to remark that nothing of 
the kind can occur in the present day, and at the same time that 
throughout the Eastern world it is firmly believed that such things 
are of daily occurrence. Ill fame descends to distant generations; 
whilst good deeds, if they blossom, as we are told, in the dust, are at 
least as short-lived as they are sweet. 

48 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Now had such a suit been carried into a Turkish 
court of justice, it would very sensibly have been settled 
by the bastinado, for Haji Wali was a respectable mer- 
chant, and Mohammed Shafi'a a notorious swindler. But 
the latter was a British subject, which notably influenced 
the question. The more to annoy his adversary, he went 
up to Cairo, and began proceedings there, hoping by this 
acute step to receive part payment of his demand. 

Arrived at Cairo, Mohammed Shafi'a applied himself 
stoutly to the task of bribing all who could be useful to 
him, distributing shawls and piastres with great generosity. 
He secured the services of an efficient lawyer ; and, de- 
termining to enlist heaven itself in his cause, he passed 
the Ramazan ostentatiously ; he fasted, and he slaughtered 
sheep to feed the poor. 

Meanwhile Haji Wali, a simple truth-telling man, 
who could never master the rudiments of that art which 
teaches man to blow hot and to blow cold with the same 
breath, had been persuaded to visit Cairo by Khuda- 
bakhsh, the wily Indian, who promised to introduce him 
to influential persons, and to receive him in his house 
till he could provide himself with a lodging at the Wak- 
alah. But Mohammed Shafi'a, who had once been in 
partnership with the Indian, and who possibly knew more 
than was fit to meet the public ear, found this out ; and , partly 
by begging, partly by bullying, persuaded Khudabakhsh 
to transfer the influential introductions to himself. Then 
the Hakim 1 Abdullah — your humble servant — appears 
upon the scene : he has travelled in Feringistan, he has 
seen many men and their cities, he becomes an intimate 
and an adviser of the Haji, and he finds out evil passages 
in Mohammed Shafi'a's life. Upon which Khudabakhsh 
ashamed, or rather afraid of his duplicity, collects his 
Indian friends. The Hakim Abdullah draws up a peti- 

1 A doctor, a learned man ; not to be confounded with Hakim, a 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 49 

tion addressed to Mr. Walne (H.B.M's Consul) by the 
Indian merchants and others resident at Cairo, informing 
him of Mohammed Shafi'a's birth, character, and occu- 
pation as a vendor of slaves, offering proof of all assertions, 
and praying him for the sake of their good name to take 
away his passport. And all the Indians affix their seals 
to this paper. Then Mohammed Shafi'a threatens to 
waylay and to beat the Haji. The Haji, not loud or hector- 
ingly, but with a composed smile, advises his friends to 
hold him off. 

One would suppose that such a document would have 
elicited some inquiry. 

But Haji Wali was a Persian protege, and proceed- 
ings between the Consulates had commenced before the 
petition was presented. The pseudo-British subject, hav- 
ing been acknowledged as a real one, must be supported. 
Consuls, like kings, may err, but must not own to error 
No notice was taken of the Indian petition ; worse still, 
no inquiry into the slave-affair was set on foot l ; and it was 
discovered that the passport having been granted by a 
Consul-General could not with official etiquette be resumed 
by a Consul. 2 

1 It may be as well to remark that our slave laws require reform 
throughout the East, their severity, like Draco's Code, defeating their 
purpose. In Egypt, for instance, they require modification. Con- 
stitute the offence a misdemeanour, not a felony, inflict a fine (say 
/ioo), half of which should be given to the informer, and make the im- 
prisonment either a short one, or, what would be better still, let it be done 
away with, except in cases of non-payment ; and finally, let the Consul 
or some other magistrate residing at the place have power to inflict 
the penalty of the law, instead of being obliged, as at present, to 
transmit offenders to Malta for trial. As the law now stands, our 
officials are unwilling to carry its' rigours into effect ; they therefore 
easily lend an ear to the standard excuse — ignorance — in order to 
have an opportunity of decently dismissing a man, with a warning 
not to do it again. 

2 Yet at the time there was at Alexandria an acting Consul-Gene- 
ral, to whom the case could with strict propriety have been referred. 
VOL. I. 4 

5<d Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Thus matters were destined to proceed as they began. 
Mohammed Shan'a had offered 5,000 piastres to the 
Persian Consul's interpreter ; this of course was refused, 
but still somehow or other all the Haji's affairs seemed 
to go wrong. His statements were mistranslated, his 
accounts were misunderstood, and the suit was allowed to 
drag on to a suspicious length. When I left Cairo in 
July, Haji Wali had been kept away nearly two months 
from his business and family, though both parties — for 
the plaintiff's purse was rapidly thinning — appeared eager 
to settle the difference by arbitration : when I returned 
from Arabia in October, matters were almost in statu quo 
ante, and when I started for India in January, the pro- 
ceedings had not closed. 

Such is a brief history, but too common, of a case in 
which the subject of an Eastern state has to contend 
against British influence. It is doubtless a point of hon- 
our to defend our proteges from injustice, but the higher 
principle should rest upon the base of common honesty. 
The worst part of such a case is, that the injured party 
has no redress. 

" Fiat /Vjustitia, mat coelum," 

is the motto of his "natural protectors," who would vio- 
late every law to gratify the false pride of a petty English 
official. And, saving the rare exceptions where rank or 
wealth command consideration, with what face, to use the 
native phrase, would a hapless Turk appeal to the higher 
powers, our ministers or our Parliament ? 

After lodging myself in the Wakalah, my first object 
was to make a certain stir in the world. In Europe your 
travelling doctor advertises the loss of a diamond ring, 
the gift of a Russian autocrat ; or he monopolises a whole 
column in a newspaper, feeing perhaps a title for the use 
of a signature ; the large brass plate, the gold-headed 
cane, the rattling chariot, and the summons from the ser- 
mon complete the work. Here, there is no such Royal 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 51 

Road to medical fame. You must begin by sitting with 
the porter, who is sure to have blear eyes, into which you 
drop a little nitrate of silver, whilst you instil into his ear 
the pleasing intelligence that you never take a fee from the 
poor. He recovers ; his report of you spreads far and 
wide, crowding your doors with paupers. They come to 
you as though you were their servant, and when cured 
they turn their backs upon you for ever. Hence it is that 
European doctors generally complain of ingratitude on 
the part of their Oriental patients. It is true that if you 
save a man's life, he naturally asks you for the means of 
preserving it. Moreover, in none of the Eastern lan- 
guages with which I am acquainted is there a single term 
conveying the meaning of our "gratitude," and none 
but Germans 1 have ideas unexplainable by words. But 
you must not condemn this absence of a virtue with- 
out considering the cause. An Oriental deems that he 
has the right to your surplus. " Daily bread is divided" 
(by heaven), he asserts, and eating yours, he considers it 
his own. Thus it is with other things. He is thank- 
ful to Allah for the gifts of the Creator, but he has a claim 
to the good offices of a fellow-creature. In rendering him 
a service you have but done your duty, and he would not 
pay you so poor a compliment as to praise you for the 
act. He leaves you, his benefactor, with a short prayer 
for the length of your days. " Thank you," being ex- 
pressed by "Allah increase thy weal !" or the selfish wish 
that your shadow (with which you protect him and his 
fellows) may never be less. And this is probably the last 
you hear of him. 

There is a discomfort in such proceedings, a reason- 

1 Johann Gottlieb Fichte expressly declares that the scope of his 
system has never been explained by words, and that it even admits 
not of being so explained. To make his opinions intelligible, he 
would express them by a system of figures, each of which must have 
a known and positive value. 

52 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

able, a metaphysical coldness, uglily contrasting in 
theory with the genial warmth which a little more heart 
would infuse into them. In theory, I say, not in practice. 
Human nature feels kindness is displayed to return it in 
kind. But Easterns do not carry out the idea of such 
obligations as we do. What can be more troublesome 
than, when you have obliged a man, to run the gauntlet 
of his and his family's thanksgivings, to find yourself 
become a master from being a friend, a great man when 
you were an equal ; not to be contradicted, where shortly 
before every one gave his opinion freely? You must 
be unamiable if these considerations deter you from bene- 
fiting your friend ; yet, I humbly opine, you still may fear 
his gratefulness. 

To resume. When the mob has raised you to fame, 
patients of a better class will slowly appear on the scene. 
After some coquetting about " etiquette," whether you 
are to visit them, or they are to call upon you, they make 
up their minds to see you, and to judge with their eyes 
whether you are to be trusted or not ; whilst you, on your 
side, set out with the determination that they shall at 
once cross the Rubicon, — in less classical phrase, swallow 
your drug. If you visit the house, you insist upon the 
patient's servants attending you ; he must also pro- 
vide and pay an ass for your conveyance, no matter if it 
be only to the other side of the street. Your confidential 
man accompanies you, primed for replies to the "fifty 
searching questions" of the "servants' hall." You are 
lifted off the saddle tenderly, as nurses dismount their 
charges, when you arrive at the gate ; and you waddle up- 
stairs with dignity. Arrived at the sick room, you salute 
those present with a general "Peace be upon you!" to 
which they respond, " And upon thee be the peace and the 
mercy of Allah, and his blessing !" To the invalid you 
say, " There is nothing the matter, please Allah, except 
the health ;" to which the proper answer — for here every 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 53 

sign of ceremony has its countersign 1 — is, " May Allah 
give thee health !" Then you sit down, and acknowledge 
the presence of the company by raising your right hand 
to your lips and forehead, bowing the while circularly ; 
each individual returns the civility by a similar gesture. 
Then inquiry about the state of your health ensues. Then 
you are asked what refreshment you will take : you 
studiously mention something not likely to be in the house, 
but at last you rough it with a pipe and a cup of coffee. 
Then you proceed to the patient, who extends his wrist, 
and asks you what his complaint is. Then you examine 
his tongue, you feel his pulse, you look learned, and — he 
is talking all the time — after hearing a detailed list of all 
his ailments, you gravely discover them, taking for the 
same as much praise to yourself as does the practising 
phrenologist for a similar simple exercise of the reason- 
ing faculties. The disease, to be respectable, must in- 
variably be connected with one of the four temperaments, 
or the four elements, or the " humours of Hippocrates." 
Cure is easy, but it will take time, and you, the doctor, 
require attention ; any little rudeness it is in your power 
to punish by an alteration in the pill, or the powder, and, 
so unknown is professional honour, that none will brave 
your displeasure. If you would pass for a native prac- 
titioner, you must finally proceed to the most uncomfort- 
able part of your visit, bargaining for fees. Nothing more 
effectually arouses suspicion than disinterestedness in a 
doctor. I once cured a rich Hazramaut merchant of 
rheumatism, and neglected to make him pay for treat- 
ment ; he carried off one of my coffee cups, and was 
unceasingly wondering where I came from. So I made 
him produce five piastres, a shilling, which he threw upon 
the carpet, cursing Indian avarice. " You will bring on 

1 M. C. de Perceval (Arabic Grammar), and Lane (Mod. Egyp- 
tians, Chapter 8 et passim), give specimens. 

54 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

another illness," said my friend, the Haji, when he heard 
of it. Properly speaking, the fee for a visit to a respect- 
able man is 20 piastres, but with the rich patient you 
begin by making a bargain. He complains, for instance, 
of dysentery and sciatica. You demand £10 for the dy- 
sentery, and ^20 for the sciatica. But you will rarely get 
it. The Eastern pays a doctor's bill as an Oirishman does 
his "rint," making a grievance of it. Your patient will 
show indisputable signs of convalescence : he will laugh 
and jest half the day ; but the moment you appear, 
groans and a lengthened visage, and pretended com- 
plaints, welcome you. Then your way is to throw out 
some such hint as 

" The world is a carcass, and they who seek it are dogs." 

And you refuse to treat the second disorder, which con- 
duct may bring the refractory one to his senses. " Dat 
Galenus opes," however, is a Western apothegm : the 
utmost "Jalinus" can do for you here is to provide you 
with the necessaries and comforts of life. Whatever you 
prescribe must be solid and material, and if you accom- 
pany it with something painful, such as rubbing to 
scarification with a horse-brush, so much the better. 
Easterns, like our peasants in Europe, wish the doctor to 
" give them the value of their money." Besides which, 
rough measures act beneficially upon their imagination. 
So the Hakim of the King of Persia cured fevers by the 
bastinado ; patients are beneficially baked in a bread- 
oven at Baghdad; and an Egyptian at Alexandria, whose 
quartan resisted the strongest appliances of European 
physic, was effectually healed by the actual cautery, which 
a certain Arab Shaykh applied to the crown of his head. 
When you administer with your own hand the remedy — 
half-a-dozen huge bread pills, dipped in a solution of aloes 
or cinnamon water, flavoured with assafoetida, which in 
the case of the dyspeptic rich often suffice, if they will but 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 55 

diet themselves — you are careful to say, " In the name of 
Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful." And after the 
patient has been dosed, " Praise be to Allah, the Curer, 
the Healer ;" you then call for pen, ink, and paper, and 
write some such prescription as this : 

"A. 1 

11 In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, 
and blessings and peace be upon our Lord the Apostle, and his 
family, and his companions one and all ! But afterwards let 
him take bees-honey and cinnamon and album grascum, of each 
half a part, and of ginger a whole part, which let him pound 
and mix with the honey, and form boluses, each bolus the weight 
of a Miskal, and of it let him use every day a Miskal on the 
saliva. 2 Verily its effects are wonderful. And let him abstain 
from flesh, fish, vegetables, sweetmeats, flatulent food, acids 
of all descriptions, as well as the major ablution, and live in 
perfect quiet. So shall he be cured by 'the help of the King, 
the Healer. 3 And The Peace. 4 " 

The diet, I need scarcely say, should be rigorous ; 
nothing has tended more to bring the European system of 
medicine into contempt among Orientals than our inatten- 
tion to this branch of the therapeutic art. When an 
Hindi or a Hindu " takes medicine," he prepares himself 
for it by diet and rest two or three days before adhibition, 
and as gradually, after the dose, he relapses into his usual 
habits ; if he break through the regime it is concluded 
that fatal results must ensue. The ancient Egyptians 
we learn from Herodotus devoted a certain number of 
days in each month to the use of alteratives, and the 

1 A monogram generally placed at the head of writings. It is 
the initial letter of "Allah," and the first of the alphabet, used from 
time immemorial to denote the origin of creation. "lam Alpha and 
Omega, the first and the last." 

2 "Ala-rik," that is to say, fasting — the first thing in the 

3 The Almighty. 4 W'as-salam, i.e. adieu. 

56 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

period was consecutive, doubtless in order to graduate the 
strength of the medicine. The Persians, when under 
salivation, shut themselves up in a warm room, never un- 
dress, and so carefully guard against cold that they even 
drink tepid water. When the Afghan princes find it ne- 
cessary to employ Chob-Chini, (the Jin-seng, 1 or China 

i From M. Hue we learn that Jin-seng is the most considerable 
article of Manchurian commerce, and that throughout China there is 
no chemist's shop unprovided with more or less of it. He adds : 
" The Chinese report marvels of the Jin-seng, and no doubt it is for 
Chinese organisation a tonic of very great effect for old and weak 
persons ; but its nature is too heating, the Chinese physicians admit, 
for the European temperament, already in their opinion too hot. 
The price is enormous, and doubtless its dearness contributes with a 
people like the Chinese to raise its celebrity so high. The rich and 
the Mandarins probably use it only because it is above the reach of 
other people, and out of pure ostentation." It is the principal tonic 
used throughout Central Asia, and was well known in Europe when 
Sarsaparilla arose to dispute with it the palm of popularity. In India, 
Persia, and Afghanistan, it is called chob-chini, — the " Chinese 
wood." The preparations are in two forms, i. Sufuf, or powder; 
2. Kahwah, or decoction. The former is compound of Radix China 
Orient, with gum mastich and sugar-candy, equal parts ; about a 
dram of this compound is taken once a day, early in the morning. 
For the decoction one ounce of fine parings is boiled for a quarter of 
an hour in a quart of water. When the liquid assumes a red colour 
it is taken off the fire and left to cool. Furthermore, there are two 
methods of adhibiting the chob-chini : i. Band ; 2. Khola. The 
first is when the patient confines himself to a garden, listening to 
music, enjoying the breeze, the song of birds, and the bubbling of 
a flowing stream. He avoids everything likely to trouble and annoy 
him ; he will not even open a letter, and the doctor forbids anyone 
to contradict him. Some grandees in central Asia will go through 
a course of forty days in every second year ; it reminds one of 
Epicurus' style of treatment, — the downy bed, the garlands of flowers, 
the good wine, and the beautiful singing girl, and is doubtless at least 
as efficacious in curing as the sweet relaxation of Grafenberg or 
Malvern. So says Socrates, according to the Anatomist of Melan- 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 57 

root so celebrated as a purifier, tonic, and aphrodisiac) 
they choose the spring season ; they remove to a garden, 
where flowers and trees and bubbling streams soothe 
their senses ; they carefully avoid fatigue and trouble of 
all kinds, and will not even hear a letter read, lest it 
should contain bad news. 

When the prescription is written out, you affix an im- 
pression of your ring seal to the beginning and to the end of 
it, that no one may be able to add to or take from its con- 
tents. And when you send medicine to a patient of rank, 
who is sure to have enemies, you adopt some similar pre- 
caution against the box or the bottle being opened. One 
of the Pashas whom I attended, — a brave soldier who had 
been a favourite with Mohammed Ali, and therefore was 
degraded by his successor, — kept an impression of my 
ring in wax, to compare with that upon the phials. Men 
have not forgotten how frequently, in former times, those 
who became obnoxious to the State were seized with sud- 
den and fatal cramps in the stomach. In the case of the 
doctor it is common prudence to adopt these precautions, 
as all evil consequences would be charged upon him, and 
he would be exposed to the family's revenge. 

Cairo, though abounding in medical practitioners, 
can still support more ; but to thrive they must be 
Indians, Chinese, or Maghrabis. The Egyptians are 
thoroughly disgusted with European treatment, which is 
here about as efficacious as in India — that is to say, not 
at all. But they are ignorant of the medicine of Hind, 
and therefore great is its name ; deservedly perhaps, for 
skill in simples and dietetics. Besides which the Indian 

" Oculum non curabis sine toto capite, 

Nee caput sine toto corpore, 

Nee totum corpus sine animo." 
The " Khola " signifies that you take the tonic without other pre- 
cautions than the avoiding acids, salt, and pepper, and choosing 
summer time, as cold is supposed to induce rheumatism. 


58 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

may deal in charms and spells, — things to which the lati- 
tude gives such force that even Europeans learn to put 
faith in them. The traveller who, on the banks of the 
Seine, scoffs at Sights and Sounds, Table-turning and 
Spirit-rapping, sees in the wilds of Tartary and Thibet a 
something supernatural and diabolical in the bungling 
Sie-fa of the Bokte. 1 Some sensible men, who pass for 
philosophers among their friends, have been caught by 
the incantations of the turbanded and bearded Cairo magi- 
cian. In our West African colonies the phrase "growing 
black " was applied to colonists, who, after a term of 
residence, became thoroughly imbued with the supersti- 
tions of the land. And there are not wanting old Anglo- 
Indians, intelligent men, that place firm trust in tales and 
tenets too puerile even for the Hindus to believe. As a 
11 Hindi" I could use animal magnetism, taking care, 
however, to give the science a specious supernatural ap- 
pearance. Haji Wali, who, professing positive scepticism, 
showed the greatest interest in the subject as a curiosity, 
advised me not to practise pure mesmerism ; otherwise, 
that I should infallibly become a " Companion of Devils." 
11 You must call this an Indian secret," said my friend, 
" for it is clear that you are no Mashaikh, 2 and people will 
ask, where are your drugs, and what business have you 
with charms ?" It is useless to say that I followed his 
counsel ; yet patients would consider themselves my 

1 Certain Lamas who, we learn from M. Hue, perform famous 
Sie-fa, or supernaturalisms, such as cutting open the abdomen, licking 
red-hot irons, making incisions in various parts of the body, which 
an instant afterwards leave no trace behind, &c, &c. The devil may 
" have a great deal to do with the matter " in Tartary, for all I know ; 
but I can assure M. Hue, that the Rufa'i Darwayshesin India and the 
Sa'adiyah at Cairo perform exactly the same feats. Their jugglery, 
seen through the smoke of incense, and amidst the enthusiasm of a 
crowd, is tolerably dexterous, and no more. 

2 A holy man. The word has a singular signification in a plural 
form, " honoris causa." 

IV. — Life in the Wahalah. 59 

Murids (disciples), and delighted in kissing the hand of the 
Sahib Nafas 1 or minor saint. 

The Haji repaid me for my docility by vaunting me 
everywhere as the very phcenix of physicians. My first 
successes were in the Wakalah ; opposite to me there 
lived an Arab slave dealer, whose Abyssinians constantly 
fell sick. A tender race, they suffer when first trans- 
ported to Egypt from many complaints, especially con- 
sumption, dysentery and varicose veins. I succeeded in 
curing one girl. As she was worth at least fifteen pounds, 
the gratitude of her owner was great, and I had to dose 
half a dozen others in order to cure them of the pernicious 
and price-lowering habit of snoring. Living in rooms 
opposite these slave girls, and seeing them at all hours of 
the day and night, I had frequent opportunities of study- 
ing them. They were average specimens of the steato- 
pygous Abyssinian breed, broad-shouldered, thin-flanked, 
fine-limbed, and with haunches of a prodigious size. None 
of them had handsome features, but the short curly hair 
that stands on end being concealed under a kerchief, there 
was something pretty in the brow, eyes, and upper part 
of the nose, coarse and sensual in the pendent lips, large 
jowl and projecting mouth, whilst the whole had a com- 
bination of piquancy with sweetness. Their style of 
flirtation was peculiar. 

" How beautiful thou art, O Maryam ! — what eyes ! 
— what — " 

1 A title literally meaning the " Master of Breath," one who can 
cure ailments, physical as well as spiritual, by breathing upon them — 
a practice well known to mesmerists. The reader will allow me to 
observe, (in self-defence, otherwise he might look suspiciously upon 
so credulous a narrator), that when speaking of animal magnetism, 
as a thing established, I allude to the lower phenomena, rejecting the 
discussion of all disputed points, as the existence of a magnetic Aura, 
and of all its unintelligibilities — Prevision, Levitation, Introvision, 
and other divisions of Clairvoyance. 

60 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

" Then why," — would respond the lady — " don't you 
buy me ?" 

" We are of one faith — of one creed — formed to form 
each other's happiness." 

" Then why don't you buy me ?" 

" Conceive, O Maryam, the blessing of two hearts — " 

" Then why don't you buy me ?" 
and so on. Most effectual gag to Cupid's eloquence ! 
Yet was not the plain-spoken Maryam's reply without its 
moral. How often is it our fate, in the West as in the 
East, to see in bright eyes and to hear from rosy lips an 
implied, if not an expressed, " Why don't you buy me ?" 
or, worse still, " W r hy can't you buy me ?" 

All I required in return for my services from the 
slave-dealer, whose brutal countenance and manners were 
truly repugnant, was to take me about the town, and ex- 
plain to me certain mysteries in his craft, which know- 
ledge might be useful in time to come. Little did he sus- 
pect who his interrogator was, and freely in his un- 
suspiciousness he entered upon the subject of slave 
hunting in the Somali country, and Zanzibar, of all things 
the most interesting to me. I have, however, nothing new to 
report concerning the present state of bondsmen in Egypt. 
England has already learned that slaves are not neces- 
sarily the most wretched and degraded of men. Some 
have been bold enough to tell the British public that, in 
the generality of Oriental countries, 1 the serf fares far 

i In the generality, not in all. Nothing, for instance, can be 
more disgraceful to human nature than the state of praedial slavery, 
or serfs attached to the glebe, when Malabar was under the dominion 
of the "mild Hindu." And as a rule in the East it is only the 
domestic slaves who taste the sweets of slavery. Yet there is 
truth in Sonnini's terrible remark: "The severe treatment under 
which the slaves languish in the West Indies is the shameful pre- 
rogative of civilisation, and is unknown to those nations among 
whom barbarism is reported to hold sway." (Travels in Upper and 
Lower Egypt, vol. ii.) 

IV. — Life in the Wahalah. 61 

better than the servant, or indeed than the poorer orders 
of freemen. " The laws of Mahomet enjoin his followers 
to treat slaves with the greatest mildness, and the Mos- 
lems are in general scrupulous observers of the Apostle's 
recommendation. Slaves are considered members of the 
family, and in houses where free servants are also kept, 
they seldom do any other work than filling the pipes, 
presenting the coffee, accompanying their master when 
going out, rubbing his. feet when he takes his nap in 
the afternoon, and driving away the flies from him. 
When a slave is not satisfied, he can legally compel his 
master to sell him. He has no care for food, lodging, 
clothes and washing, and has no taxes to pay ; he is 
exempt from military service and soccage, and in spite of 
his bondage is freer than the freest Fellah in Egypt. 1 " 
This is, I believe, a true statement, but of course it in no- 
wise affects the question of slavery in the abstract. A 
certain amount of reputation was the consequence of cur- 
ing the Abyssinian girls : my friend Haji Wali carefully 
told the news to all the town, and before fifteen days were 
over, I found myself obliged to decline extending a prac- 
tice which threatened me with fame. 

Servants are most troublesome things to all English- 
men in Egypt, but especially to one travelling as a 
respectable native, and therefore expected to have slaves. 
After much deliberation, I resolved to take a Berberi, 2 

i The author has forgotten to mention one of the principal ad- 
vantages of slaves, namely, the prospect of arriving at the highest 
rank of the empire. The Pasha of the Syrian caravan with which I 
travelled to Damascus, had been the slave of a slave, and he is but a 
solitary instance of cases perpetually occuring in all Moslem lands. 
"Cest tin homme de bonne famille ," said a Turkish officer in Egypt, 
" il a etc achete." 

2 A " Barbarian " from Nubia and Upper Egypt. Some authori- 
ties, Mr. Lane for instance, attribute the good reputation of these 
people to their superior cunning. Sonnmi says, " they are intelligent 
and handy servants, but knaves." Others believe in them. As far as I 

62 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

and accordingly summoned a Shaykh — there is a Shaykh 
for everything down to thieves in " the East," (in 
Egypt since the days of Diodorus Siculus), and made 
known my want. The list of sine qua nons was necessarily 
rather an extensive one, — good health and a readiness to 
travel anywhere, a little skill in cooking, sewing and 
washing, willingness to fight, and a habit of regular 
prayers. After a day's delay the Shaykh brought me a 
specimen of his choosing, a broad-shouldered, bandy- 
legged fellow, with the usual bull-dog expression of the 
Berberis, in his case rendered doubly expressive by the 
drooping of an eyelid — an accident brought about with 
acrid juice in order to avoid conscription. He responded 
sturdily to all my questions. Some Egyptian donkey 
boys and men were making a noise in the room at the 
time, and the calm ferocity with which he ejected them 
commanded my approval. When a needle, thread, and 
an unhemmed napkin were handed to him, he sat down, 
held the edge of the cloth between his big toe and its 
neighbour, and finished the work in quite a superior style. 
Walking out, he armed himself with a Kurbaj, which he 
used, now lightly, then heavily, upon all laden animals, 
biped and quadruped, that came in the way. His con- 
duct proving equally satisfactory in the kitchen, after 
getting security from him, and having his name registered 
by the Shaykh, 1 I closed with him for eighty piastres a 

could find out, they were generally esteemed more honest than the 
Egyptians, and they certainly possess a certain sense of honour un- 
known to their northern brethren. " Berberi " is a term of respect ; 
" Masri " (corrupted from Misri) in the mouth of a Badawi or an 
Arab of Arabia is a reproach. " He shall be called an Egyptian," 
means " he shall belong to a degraded race." 

i Who becomes responsible, and must pay for any theft his pro- 
tege may commit. Berberis, being generally " les Suisses" of respect- 
able establishments, are expected to be honest. But I can assert from 
experience that, as a native, you will never recover the value of a 
stolen article without having recourse to the police. For his valuable 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 63 

month. But Ali the Berberi and I were destined to part. 
Before a fortnight he stabbed his fellow servant — a Surat 
lad, who wishing to return home forced his services upon 
me — and for this trick he received, with his dismissal, 400 
blows on the feet by order of the Zabit, or police magis- 
trate. After this failure I tried a number of servants, Egyp- 
tians, Sa'idis, 1 and clean and unclean eating 2 Berberis. 
Recommended by different Shaykhs, all had some fatal 
defect ; one cheated recklessly, another robbed me, a third 
drank, a fourth was always in scrapes for infringing the 
Julian edict, and the last, a long-legged Nubian, after 
remaining two days in the house, dismissed me for ex- 
security, the Shaykh demands a small fee (7 or 8 piastres), which, 
despite the urgent remonstrances of protector and protege, you 
deduct from the latter's wages. The question of pay is a momentous 
one ; too much always spoils a good servant, too little leaves you 
without one. An Egyptian of the middle class would pay his Berberi 
about 40 piastres a month, besides board, lodging, some small perqui- 
sites, and presents on certain occasions. This, however, will not 
induce a man to travel, especially to cross the sea. 

1 A man from the Sa'id or Upper Egypt. 

2 A favourite way of annoying the Berberis is to repeat the say- 
ing, " we have eaten the clean, we have eaten the unclean," — meaning, 
that they are by no means cunning in the difference between right 
and wrong, pure and impure. I will relate the origin of the saying, 
as I heard it differently, from Mansfield Parkyns, (Life in Abyssinia, 
chap. 31.) A Berberi, said my informant, had been carefully fattening 
a fine sheep for a feast, when his cottage was burned by an accident. 
In the ashes he found roasted meat, which looked tempting to a hungry 
man : he called his neighbours, and all sat down to make merry over 
the mishap ; presently they came to the head, which proved to be 
that of a dog, some enemy having doubtless stolen the sheep and put 
the impure animal in its place. Whereupon, sadly perplexed, all the 
Berberis went to their priest, and dolefully related the circumstance, 
expecting absolution, as the offence was involuntary. " You have 
eaten filth," said the man of Allah. " Well," replied the Berberis, 
falling upon him with their fists, " filth or not, we have eaten it." 
The Berberi, I must remark, is the " Paddy " of this part of the 
world, celebrated for bulls and blunders. 

64 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

pressing a determination to travel by sea from Suez to 
Yambu'. I kept one man ; he complained that he was 
worked to death : two — they did nothing but fight ; and 
three — they left me, as Mr. Elwes said of old, to serve 
myself. At last, thoroughly tired of Egyptian domestics, 
and one servant being really sufficient for comfort, as well 
as suitable to my assumed rank, I determined to keep 
only the Indian boy. He had all the defects of his na- 
tion ; a brave at Cairo, he was an arrant coward at Al- 
Madinah ; the Badawin despised him heartily for his 
effeminacy in making his camel kneel to dismount, and he 
could not keep his hands from picking and stealing. But 
the choice had its advantages : his swarthy skin and 
chubby features made the Arabs always call him an Abys- 
sinian slave, which, as it favoured my disguise, I did 
not care to contradict ; he served well, he was amenable 
to discipline, and being completely dependent upon me, he 
was therefore less likely to watch and especially to prate 
about my proceedings. As master and man we performed 
the pilgrimage together ; but, on my return to Egypt 
after the pilgrimage, Shaykh (become Haji) Nur, finding 
me to be a Sahib, 1 changed for the worse. He would not 
work, and reserved all his energy for the purpose of pil- 
fering, which he practised so audaciously upon my 
friends, as well as upon myself, that he could not be kept 
in the house. 

Perhaps the reader may be curious to see the neces- 
sary expenses of a bachelor residing at Cairo. He must 
observe, however, in the following list that I was not a 
strict economist, and, besides that, I was a stranger in 
the country : inhabitants and old settlers would live as 
well for little more than two-thirds the sum. 

1 The generic name given by Indians to English officials. 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 


Breakfast for 
self and 




House rent at 18 piastres per mensem - - - o 

Servant at 80 piastres per do. - - 2 

10 eggs ..... o 

Coffee - - - - - o 

Water melon (now 5 piastres) - 1 

Two rolls of bread - - - o 

2 lbs. of meat - 2 

Two rolls of bread - - - o 

Vegetables - - - - o 

Rice o 

Oil and clarified butter - - 1 

A skin of Nile water - - - 1 

Tobacco 1 1 

Hammam (hot bath) - - - 3 






Total - 12 50 

Equal to about two shillings and sixpence. 


1 There are four kinds of tobacco smoked in Egypt. The first 
and best is the well-known Latakia, generally called " Jabali," 
either from a small seaport town about three hours' journey south 
of Latakia, or more probably because grown on the hills near the 
ancient Laodicea. Pure, it is known by its blackish colour, fine 
shredding, absence of stalk, and an undescribable odour, to me 
resembling that of creosote ; the leaf, too, is small, so that when 
made into cigars it must be covered over with a slip of the yellow 
Turkish tobacco called Bafra. Except at the highest houses un- 
adulterated Latakia is not to be had in Cairo. Yet, mixed as it is, 
no other growth exceeds it in flavour and fragrance. Miss Martineau 
smoked it, we are told, without inconvenience, and it differs from our 
Shag, Bird's-eye, and Returns, in degree, as does Chateau Margeau 
from a bottle of cheap strong Spanish wine. To bring out its flavour, 
the connoisseur smokes it in long pipes of cherry, jasmine, maple, or 
rosewood, and these require a servant skilled in the arts of cleaning 
and filling them. The best Jabali at Cairo costs about seven piastres 
the pound ; after which a small sum must be paid to the Farram or 
chopper, who prepares it for use. 

2nd. Suri (Tyrian), or Shami.or Suryani, grown in Syria, an inferior 
growth, of a lighter colour than Latakia, and with a greenish tinge ; 
when cut, its value is about three piastres per pound. Some smokers 
mix this leaf with Jabali, which, to my taste, spoils the flavour of the 
latter without improving the former. The strongest kind, called 
VOL. I. 5 

66 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

In these days who at Cairo without a Shaykh ? I 
thought it right to conform to popular custom, and accord- 
ingly, after having secured a servant, my efforts were 
directed to finding a teacher ; the pretext being that as 
an Indian doctor I wanted to read Arabic works on medi- 
cine, as well as to perfect myself in divinity and pro- 
nunciation. 5 My theological studies were in the Shafe'i 
school for two reasons : in the first place, it is the least 
rigorous of the Four Orthodox, and, secondly, it most 
resembles the Shi'ah heresy, with which long intercourse 

Korani or Jabayl, is generally used for cigarettes ; it costs, when of 
first-rate quality, about five piastres per pound. 

3rd. Tumbak, or Persian tobacco, called Hijazi, because im- 
ported from the Hijaz, where everybody smokes it, and supposed to 
come from Shiraz, Kazerun, and other celebrated places in Persia. 
It is all but impossible to buy this article unadulterated, except from 
the caravans returning after the pilgrimage. The Egyptians mix it 
with native growths, which ruins its flavour and gives it an acridity 
that "catches the throat," whereas good tumbak never yet made a 
man cough. Yet the taste of this tobacco, even when second-rate, is 
so fascinating to some smokers that they will use no other. To be 
used it should be wetted and squeezed, and it is invariably inhaled 
through water into the lungs : almost every town has its favourite 
description of pipe, and these are of all kinds, from the pauper's 
rough cocoa-nut mounted with two reeds, to the prince's golden bowl 
set with the finest stones. Tumbak is cheap, costing about four 
piastres a pound, but large quantities of it are used. 

4th. Hummi, as the word signifies, a "hot" variety of the tum- 
bak, grown in Al-Yaman and other countries. It is placed in the tile 
on the buri or cocoa-nut pipe, unwetted, and has a very acrid flavour. 
Being supposed to produce intoxication, or rather a swimming in the 
head, hummi gives its votaries a bad name : respectable men would 
answer " no" with rage if asked whether they are smoking it, and 
when a fellow tells you that he has seen better days, but that now he 
smokes Hummi in a buri, you understand him that his misfortunes 
have affected either his brain or his morality. Hence it is that this 
tobacco is never put into pipes intended for smoking the other kinds. 
The price of Hummi is about five piastres per pound. 

1 A study essential to the learned, as in some particular portions 
of the Koran a mispronunciation becomes a sin. 

IV. — Life in the Wahalah. 67 

with Persians had made me familiar. 1 My choice of 
doctrine, however, confirmed those around me in their 
conviction that I was a rank heretic, for the 'Ajami, 
taught by his religion to conceal offensive tenets 2 in 
lands where the open expression would be dangerous, 
always represents himself to be a Shafe'i. This, together 
with the original mistake of appearing publicly at Alex- 
andria as a " Mirza" in a Persian dress, caused me infinite 
small annoyance at Cairo, in spite of all precautions and 
contrivances. And throughout my journey, even in 
Arabia, though I drew my knife every time an offensive 
hint was thrown out, the ill-fame clung to me like the 
shirt of Nessus. 

It was not long before I happened to hit upon a 
proper teacher, in the person of Shaykh Mohammed al- 
Attar, or the " Druggist." He had known prosperity, hav- 
ing once been a Khatib (preacher) in one of Mohammed 
Ali's mosques. But His Highness the late Pasha had 
dismissed him, which disastrous event, with its sub- 
sequent train of misfortunes, he dates from the melan- 
choly day when he took to himself a wife. He talks 
of her abroad as a stern and rigid master dealing with a 
naughty slave, though, by the look that accompanies his 
rhodomontade, I am convinced that at home he is the 
very model of " managed men." His dismissal was the 
reason that compelled him to fall back upon the trade of 
a druggist, the refuge for the once wealthy, though now 
destitute, Sages of Egypt. 

His little shop in the Jamaliyah Quarter is a perfect 
gem of Nilotic queerness. A hole, about five feet long 

1 The Shafe'i, to quote but one point of similarity, abuse Yazid, 
the Syrian tyrant, who caused the death of the Imam Husayn : this 
expression of indignation is forbidden by the Hanafi doctors, who 
rigidly order their disciples to "judge not." 

2 A systematic concealment of doctrine, and profession of popular 
tenets, technically called by the Shi'ahs "Takiyah:" the literal 
meaning of the word is " fear," or " caution." 

68 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

and six deep, pierced in the wall of some house, it is 
divided into two compartments separated by a thin par- 
tition of wood, and communicating by a kind of arch cut 
in the boards. The inner box, germ of a back parlour, 
acts as store-room, as the pile of empty old baskets tossed 
in dusty confusion upon the dirty floor shows. In the 
front is displayed the stock in trade, a matting full of 
Persian tobacco and pipe-bowls of red clay, a palm-leaf 
bag containing vile coffee and large lumps of coarse, 
whity-brown sugar wrapped up in browner paper. On 
the shelves and ledges are rows of well-thumbed wooden 
boxes, labelled with the greatest carelessness, pepper for 
rhubarb, arsenic lor Tafl, or wash-clay, and sulphate of 
iron where sal-ammoniac should be. There is also a 
square case containing, under lock and key, small change 
and some choice articles of commerce, damaged per- 
fumes, bad antimony for the eyes, and pernicious rouge. 
And dangling close above it is a rusty pair of scales, ill 
poised enough for Egyptian Themis herself to use. To 
hooks over the shop-front are suspended reeds for pipes, 
tallow candles, dirty wax tapers and cigarette paper ; 
instead of plate-glass windows and brass-handled doors, 
a ragged net keeps away the flies when the master is in, 
and the thieves when he goes out to recite in the Hasa- 
nayn Mosque his daily chapter " Ya Sin. 1 " A wooden 
shutter which closes down at night-time, and by day two 
palm-stick stools intensely dirty and full of fleas, occupying 
the place of the Mastabah or earthen bench, 2 which accom- 
modated purchasers, complete the furniture of my pre- 
ceptor's establishment. 

i One of the most esteemed chapters of the Koran, frequently 
recited as a Wazifah or daily task by religious Moslems in Egypt. 

2 The Mastabah here is a long earthen bench plastered over with 
clay, and raised about two feet from the ground, so as to bring the 
purchaser's head to a level with the shop. Mohammed Ali ordered 
the people to remove them, as they narrowed the streets ; their place 
is now supplied by " Kafas," cages or stools of wicker-work. 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 69 

There he sits, or rather lies (for verily I believe he 
sleeps through three-fourths of the day), a thin old man 
about fifty-eight, 1 with features once handsome and re- 
gular; a sallow face, shaven head, deeply wrinkled cheeks, 
eyes hopelessly bleared, and a rough grey beard ignorant 
of oil and comb. His turband, though large, is brown 
with wear ; his coat and small-clothes display many a 
hole ; and, though his face and hands must be frequently 
washed preparatory to devotion, still they have the quality 
of looking always unclean. It is wonderful how fierce 
and gruff he is to the little boys and girls who flock to 
him grasping farthings for pepper and sugar. On such 
occasions I sit admiring to see him, when forced to exer- 
tion, wheel about on his place, making a pivot of that 
portion of our organisation which mainly distinguishes 
our species from the other families of the Simiadae, to 
reach some distant drawer, or to pull down a case from 
its accustomed shelf. How does he manage to say his 
prayers, to kneel and to prostrate himself upon that two 
feet of ragged rug, scarcely sufficient for a British infant 
to lie upon ? He hopelessly owns that he knows nothing 
of his craft, and the seats before his shop are seldom 
occupied. His great pleasure appears to be when the 
Haji and I sit by him a few minutes in the evening, 
bringing with us pipes, which he assists us to smoke, 
and ordering coffee, which he insists upon sweetening 
with a lump of sugar from his little store. There we 
make him talk and laugh, and occasionally quote a few 
lines strongly savouring of the jovial : we provoke him 
to long stories about the love borne him in his student- 
days by the great and holy Shaykh Abd al-Rahman, and 
the antipathy with which he was regarded by the equally 

1 A great age in Lower Egypt, where but few reach the 12th 
lustre. Even the ancients observed that the old Egyptians, despite 
their attention to diet and physic, were the most short-lived, and the 
Britons, despite their barbarism, the longest lived of men. 

70 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

great and holy Shakh Nasr al-Din, his memorable single 
imprisonment for contumacy, 1 and the temperate but 
effective lecture, beginning with " O almost entirely desti- 
tute of shame ! " delivered on that occasion in presence of 
other under-graduates by the Right Reverend principal 
of his college. Then we consult him upon matters of 
doctrine, and quiz him tenderly about his powers of dor- 
mition, and flatter him, or rather his age, with such 
phrases as, " The water from thy hand is of the Waters of 
Zemzem ;" or, " We have sought thee to deserve the Bless- 
ings of the Wise upon our undertakings." Sometimes, 
with interested motives it must be owned, we induce him 
to accompany us to the Hammam, 2 where he insists upon 
paying the smallest sum, quarrelling with everything and 

i This is the " imposition " of Oxford and Cambridge. 

2 The Hammam, or hot bath, being a kind of religious estab- 
lishment, is one of the class of things — so uncomfortably numerous in 
Eastern countries — left 'ala jud'ak, " to thy generosity." Conse- 
quently, you are pretty sure to have something disagreeable there, 
which you would vainly attempt to avoid by liberality. The best 
way to deal with all such extortioners, with the Lawingi (undresser) 
of a Cairo Hammam, or the " jarvey " of a London Hansom, is to 
find out the fare, and never to go beyond it — never to be generous. 
The Hammam has been too often noticed to bear another descrip- 
tion : one point, however, connected with it I must be allowed 
to notice. Mr. Lane (Modern Egyptians) asserts that a Moslem 
should not pray nor recite the Koran in it, as the bath is believed to 
be a favourite resort of Jinnis (or genii). On the contrary, it is the 
custom of some sects to recite a Ruk'atayn (two-bow) prayer 
immediately after religious ablution in the hot cistern. This, how- 
ever, is makr'uh, or improper without being sinful, to the followers of 
Abu Hanifah. As a general rule, throughout Al-Islam, the Farz 
(obligatory) prayers may be recited everywhere, no matter how im- 
pure the place may be : but those belonging to the classes sunnat 
(traditionary) and nafilah (supererogatory) are makruh, though not 
actually unlawful, in certain localities. I venture this remark on 
account of the extreme accuracy of the work referred to. A wonder- 
ful contrast to the generality of Oriental books, it amply deserves a 
revision in the rare places requiring care. 

IV. — Life in the Wakalah. 71 

everybody, and giving the greatest trouble. We are 
generally his only visitors ; acquaintances he appears to 
have few, and no friends ; he must have had them once, 
for he was rich, but is not so now, so they have fallen 
away from the poor old man. 

When the Shaykh Mohammed sits with me, or I 
climb up into his little shop for the purpose of receiving 
a lesson from him, he is quite at his ease, reading when 
he likes, or making me read, and generally beginning 
each lecture with some such preamble as this 1 : — 

" Aywdl ay wet,! aywa /*"— Even so, even so, even so ! 
we take refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned ! In 
the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, 
and the Blessings of Allah upon our Lord Mohammed, 
and his Family and his Companions one and all ! Thus 
saith the author, may Almighty Allah have mercy 
upon him ! ' Section I. of chapter two, upon the orders 
of prayer,' &c." 

He becomes fiercely sarcastic when I differ from 
him in opinion, especially upon a point of grammar, or 
the theology over which his beard has grown grey. 

"Subhan' Allah! (Allah be glorified! 8 ) What 
words are these ? If thou be right, enlarge thy turband, 4 " 
(i.e., set up as a learned man), " and throw away thy 

1 Europeans so seldom see the regular old Shaykh, whose place 
is now taken by polite young men educated in England or France, 
that this scene may be new even to those who have studied of late 
years on the banks of the Nile. 

2 This word is often used to signify simply " yes." It is cor- 
rupted from Ay wa'llahi, " Yes, by Allah." In pure Arabic " ay " or 
"I" is synonymous with our "yes" or "ay"; and "Allah" in 
those countries enters somehow into every other phrase. 

3 This is, of course, ironical: "Allah be praised for creating 
such a prodigy of learning as thou art ! " 

4 The larger the turband the greater are the individual's preten- 
sions to religious knowledge and respectability of demeanour. This 
is the custom in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, and many other parts of the 
Moslem world. 

72 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

drugs, for verily it is better to quicken men's souls 
than to destroy their bodies, O Abdullah ! " 

Oriental-like, he revels in giving good counsel. 

" Thou art always writing, O my brave I 1 " (this is 
said on the few occasions when I venture to make a note 
in my book), " what evil habit is this ? Surely thou 
hast learned it in the lands of the Frank. Repent ! " 

He loathes my giving medical advice gratis. 

" Thou hast two servants to feed, O my son ! The 
doctors of Egypt never write A, B, without a reward. 
Wherefore art thou ashamed ? Better go and sit upon 
the mountain 2 at once" (i.e., go to the desert), " and 
say thy prayers day and night ! " 

And finally, he is prodigal of preaching upon the 
subject of household expenses. 

" Thy servant did write down two pounds of flesh yes- 
terday ! What words are these, O he ? 3 Dost thou never 
say, ' Guard us, Allah, from the sin of extravagance ? ' " 

He delights also in abruptly interrupting a serious 
subject when it begins to weigh upon his spirits. For 

" Now the waters of ablution being of seven different 

kinds, it results that hast thou a wife ? — No ? — Then 

verily thou must buy thee a female slave, O youth ! 

This conduct is not right, and men will say of thee 

Repentance : I take refuge with Allah 4 'of a truth 

his mouth watereth for the spouses of other Moslems.' " 

i Ya gad'a, as the Egyptians pronounce it, is used exactly like 
the " mon brave " of France, and our " my good man." 

2 The " mountain " in Egypt and Arabia is what the " jungle " is 
in India. When informed that " you come from the mountain," you 
understand that you are considered a mere clodhopper : when 
asserting that you will " sit upon the mountain," you hint to your 
hearers an intention of turning anchorite or magician. 

3 Ya hit, a common interpellative, not, perhaps, of the politest 

4 A religious formula used when compelled to mention anything 
abominable or polluting to the lips of a pious man. 

IV. — Life in the Wahalah. ^73 

But sometimes he nods over a difficult passage under 
my very eyes, or he reads it over a dozen times in the 
wantonness of idleness, or he takes what school-boys call 
a long " shot " most shamelessly at the signification. 
When this happens I lose my temper, and raise my 
voice, and shout, " Verily there is no power nor might 
save in Allah, the High, the Great !" Then he looks at 
me, and with passing meekness whispers — 

" Fear Allah, O man ! " 




This year the Ramazan befell in June, and a fearful 
infliction was that ; ' blessed month," making the Moslem 
unhealthy and unamiable. For the space of sixteen 
consecutive hours and a quarter, we were forbidden to 
eat, drink, smoke, snuff, and even to swallow our saliva 
designedly. I say forbidden, for although the highest 
orders of Turks, — the class is popularly described as 

" Turco fino 
Mangia porco e beve vino," — 

may break the ordinance in strict privacy, popular opinion 
would condemn any open infraction of it with uncommon 
severity. In this, as in most human things, how many 
are there who hold that 

" Pecher en secret n'est pas pecher, 
Ce n'est que l'eclat qui fait le crime" ? 

The middle and lower ranks observe the duties of 
the season, however arduous, with exceeding zeal : of 
all who suffered severely from such total abstinence, I 
found but one patient who would eat even to save his 
life. And among the vulgar, sinners who habitually 
drink when they should pray, will fast and perform their 
devotions through the Ramazan. 

Like the Italian, the Anglo-Catholic, and the Greek 
fasts, the chief effect of the " blessed month " upon True 
Believers is to darken their tempers into positive gloom. 

V. — The Ramazan. 75 

Their voices, never of the softest, acquire, especially after 
noon, a terribly harsh and creaking tone. The men curse 
one another 1 and beat the women. The women slap and 
abuse the children, and these in their turn cruelly entreat, 
and use bad language to, the dogs and cats. You can 
scarcely spend ten minutes in any populous part of the city 
without hearing some violent dispute. The " Karakun," or 
station-houses, are filled with lords who have administered 
an undue dose of chastisement to their ladies, and with 
ladies who have scratched, bitten, and otherwise injured 
the bodies of their lords. The Mosques are crowded 
with a sulky, grumbling population, making themselves 
offensive to one another on earth whilst working their 
way to heaven ; and in the shade, under the outer walls, 
the little boys who have been expelled the church 
attempt to forget their miseries in spiritless play. In 
the bazars and streets, pale long-drawn faces, looking for 
the most part intolerably cross, catch your eye, and at 
this season a stranger will sometimes meet with positive 
incivility. A shopkeeper, for instance, usually says when 
he rejects an insufficient offer, " Yaftah Allah," — " Allah 
opens. 2 " During the Ramazan, he will grumble about the 
bore of Ghashim, or " Johnny raws," and gruffly tell you 
not to stand there wasting his time. But as a rule the 
shops are either shut or destitute of shopmen, merchants 
will not purchase, and students will not study. In fine, 

1 Of course all quarrelling, abuse, and evil words are strictly 
forbidden to the Moslem during Ramazan. If one believer insult 
another, the latter should repeat " I am fasting" three times before 
venturing himself to reply. Such is the wise law. But human 
nature in Egypt, as elsewhere, is always ready to sacrifice the spirit 
to the letter, rigidly to obey the physical part of an ordinance, and 
to cast away the moral, as if it were the husk and not the kernel. 

2 Allah opens (the door of daily bread) is a polite way of inform- 
ing a man that you and he are not likely to do business ; in other 
words, that you are not in want of his money. 

76 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the Ramazan, for many classes, is one-twelfth of the year 
wantonly thrown away. 

The following is the routine of a fast day. About 
half an hour after midnight, the gun sounds its warning 
to faithful men that it is time to prepare for the " Sahur," 
(early breakfast) or morning meal. My servant then 
wakes me, if I have slept ; brings water for ablution, 
spreads the Sufrah * (or leather cloth) ; and places before 
me certain remnants of the evening's meal. It is some 
time before the stomach becomes accustomed to such 
hours, but in matters of appetite, habit is everything, 
and for health's sake one should strive to eat as plentifully 
as possible. Then sounds the Salam, or Blessings on the 
Prophet, 2 an introduction to the Call of Morning Prayer. 
Smoking sundry pipes with tenderness, as if taking leave 
of a friend ; and until the second gun, fired at about 
half-past two a.m., gives the Imsak, 3 — the order to abstain 
from food, — I wait the Azan, :{ which in this month is 
called somewhat earlier than usual. Then, after a cere- 
mony termed the Niyat 4 (purpose) of fasting, I say my 

1 The Sufrah is a piece of leather well tanned, and generally of a 
yellow colour, bordered with black. It is circular, has a few small 
pouches for knives or spoons, and, by means of a thong run through 
rings in the periphery, can be readily converted into a bag for carrying 
provisions on a journey. Figuratively it is used for the meal itself. 
" Sufrah hazir " means that dinner is upon the table. 

2 The Salam at this hour of the morning is confined to the devo- 
tions of Ramazan. The curious reader may consult Lane's Modern 
Egyptians, chap. 25, for a long and accurate interpretation of these 

3 The summons to prayer. 

4 In the Mohammedan church every act of devotion must be 
preceded by what is called its Niyat, or purpose. This intention 
must be either mentally conceived, or, as the more general rule is, 
audibly expressed. For instance, the worshipper will begin with 
" I purpose to pray the four-bows of mid-day prayer to Allah the 
Almighty," and then he will proceed to the act of worship. Moslems 
of the Shafe'i faith must perform the Niyat of fasting every night 

V. — The Ramazan. 77 

prayers, and prepare for repcse. 1 At 7 a.m. the labours 
of the day begin for the working classes of society ; 
the rich spend the night in revelling, and rest in down 
from dawn till noon. 

The first thing on rising is to perform the Wuzu, or 
lesser ablution, which invariably follows sleep in a re- 
clining position ; without this it would be improper to 
pray, to enter the Mosques, to approach a religious man, 
or to touch the Koran. A few pauper patients usually 
visit me at this hour, report the phenomena of their com- 
plaints, — which they do, by the bye, with unpleasant 
minuteness of detail, — and receive fresh instructions. At 
9 a.m. Shaykh Mohammed enters, with " lecture " written 
upon his wrinkled brow ; or I pick him up on the way, 
and proceed straight to the Mosque Al-Azhar. After 
three hours' hard reading, with little interruption from 
bystanders — this is long vacation, most of the students 
being at home — comes the call to mid-day prayer. The 
founder of Al- Islam ordained but few devotions for the 
morning, which is the business part of the Eastern day ; 
but during the afternoon and evening they succeed one 
another rapidly, and their length increases. It is then 
time to visit my rich patients, and afterwards, by way of 
accustoming myself to the sun, to wander among the 
bookshops for an hour or two, or simply to idle in the 
street. At 3 p.m. I return home, recite the afternoon 
prayers, and re-apply myself to study. 

This is the worst part of the day. In Egypt the 
summer nights and mornings are, generally speaking, 

for the ensuing day; the Malikis, on the other hand, "purpose" 
abstinence but once for the thirty days of Ramazan. Lane tells a 
pleasant tale of a thief in the Mosque saying, " I purpose (before 
prayer) to carry off" this nice pair of new shoes ! " 

1 Many go to sleep immediately after the Imsak, or about a 
quarter of an hour before the dawn prayer, and do not perform their 
morning devotions till they awake. But this is not, strictly speaking, 

78 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

pleasant, but the forenoons are sultry, and the afternoons 
are serious. A wind wafting the fine dust and furnace-heat 
of the desert blows over the city ; the ground returns with 
interest the showers of caloric from above, and not a 
cloud or a vapour breaks the dreary expanse of splendour 
on high. There being no such comforts as Indian tatties, 
and few but the wealthiest houses boasting glass windows, 
the interior of your room is somewhat more fiery than the 
street. Weakened with fasting, the body feels the heat 
trebly, and the disordered stomach almost affects the 
brain. Every minute is counted with morbid fixity of 
idea as it passes on towards the blessed sunset, especially 
by those whose terrible lot is manual labour at such a 
season. A few try to forget their afternoon miseries in 
slumber, but most people take the Kaylulah, or Siesta, 
shortly after the meridian, holding it unwholesome to 
sleep late in the day. 

As the Maghrib, the sunset hour, approaches — and 
how slowly it comes ! — the town seems to recover from a 
trance. People flock to the windows and balconies, in 
order to watch the moment of their release. Some pray, 
others tell their beads ; while others, gathering together 
in groups or paying visits, exert themselves to while away 
the lagging time. 

O Gladness ! at length it sounds, that gun from the 
citadel. Simultaneously rises the sweet cry of the 
Mu'ezzin, calling men to prayer, and the second cannon 
booms from the Abbasiyah Palace, 1 — " Al Fitar ! Al 

1 When the late Pasha of Egypt (H.H. Abbas Hilmi) came to 
power, he built a large pile of palace close outside the walls of Cairo, on 
the direction of Suez, and induced his courtiers to follow his example. 
This was done readily enough, for Asiatics, like Europeans, enjoy the 
fine air of the desert after the rank atmosphere of towns and cities. 
If the successor of His Highness does not follow the usual Oriental 
method of wiping away all vestiges of the predecessor, except his 
grave, there will be, at no distant period, a second Cairo on the site 
of the Abbasiyah. 

V. — The Ramazan. 79 

Fitar ! " fast-breaking ! fast-breaking ! shout the people, 
and a hum of joy rises from the silent city. Your acute 
ears waste not a moment in conveying the delightful 
intelligence to your parched tongue, empty stomach, and 
languid limbs. You exhaust a pot full of water, no 
matter its size. You clap hurried hands l for a pipe ; you 
order coffee ; and provided with these comforts, you sit 
down, and calmly contemplate the coming pleasures of 
the evening. 

Poor men eat heartily at once. The rich break their 
fast with a light meal, — a little bread and fruit, fresh or 
dry, especially water-melon, sweetmeats, or such digestible 
dishes as " Muhallabah," — a thin jelly of milk, starch, 
and rice-flour. They then smoke a pipe, drink a cup of 
coffee or a glass of sherbet, and recite the evening prayers ; 
for the devotions of this hour are delicate things, and 
while smoking a first pipe after sixteen hours' abstinence, 
time easily slips away. Then they sit down to the 
Fatur (breakfast), the meal of the twenty-four hours, and 
eat plentifully, if they would avoid illness. 

There are many ways of spending a Ramazan even- 
ing. The Egyptians have a proverb, like ours of the 
Salernitan school : 

1 One of our wants is a history of the bell and its succedanai. IUa \mu* : 
Strict Moslems have an aversion to all modifications of this instru- 
ment, striking clocks, gongs, &c, because they were considered by 
the Prophet peculiar to the devotions of Christians. He, therefore, v ^ ^ 
instituted the Azan, or call to prayer, and his followers still clap their 
hands when we should ring for a servant. The symbolical meaning 
of the bell, as shown in the sistrum of Isis, seems to be the move- 
ment and mixture of the elements, which is denoted by clattering 
noise. "Hence," observes a learned antiquary, "the ringing of 
bells and clattering of plates of metal were used in all lustrations, 
sacrifices, &c." We find them amongst the Jews, worn by the high 
priest ; the Greeks attached them to images of Priapus, and the 
Buddhists of Thibet still use them in their worship, as do the 
Catholics of Rome when elevating the Host. 

8o Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

" After Al-Ghada rest, if it be but for two moments : 
After Al-Asha i walk, if it be but two steps." 

The streets are now crowded with a good-humoured 
throng of strollers ; the many bent on pleasure, the few 
wending their way to Mosque, where the Imam recites 
" Tarawih " prayers. 2 They saunter about, the accus- 
tomed pipe in hand, shopping, for the stalls are open till 
a late hour ; or they sit in crowds at the coffee-house 
entrance, smoking Shishas, 3 (water-pipes), chatting, and 
listening to story-tellers, singers and itinerant preachers. 
Here a bare-footed girl trills and quavers, accompanied by 
a noisy tambourine and a " scrannel pipe " of abominable 
discordance, in honour of a perverse saint whose corpse 
insisted upon being buried inside some respectable man's 
dwelling-house. 4 The scene reminds you strongly of the 
Sonnenrs of Brittany and the Zampognavi from the Abruz- 
zian Highlands bagpiping before the Madonna. There 
a tall, gaunt Maghrabi displays upon a square yard of 

i Al-Ghada is the early dinner : Al-Asha, the supper, eaten 
shortly after sunset. (See Lane's Modern Egyptians, Chap. 5.) 

2 Extra prayers repeated in the month of Ramazan, (Lane, 
Chap. 25, " Tarawih.") They take about an hour, consisting of 23 
prostrations, with the Salam (or blessing on the Prophet) after every 
second prostration. 

3 The Shisha, or Egyptian and Syrian water-pipe, is too well 
known to require any description. It is filled with a kind of tobacco 
called Tumbak, for which see Chap. 4 of this Volume. 

4 Strangers often wonder to see a kind of cemetery let into a 
dwelling-house in a crowded street. The reason is, that some obsti- 
nate saint has insisted upon being buried there, by the simple process 
of weighing so heavily in his bier, that the bearers have been obliged 
to place him on the pavement. Of course, no good Moslem would 
object to have his ground floor occupied by the corpse of a holy man. 
The reader will not forget, that in Europe statues have the whims 
which dead bodies exhibit in Egypt. So, according to the Abbe 
Marche, the little statue of Our Lady, lately found in the forest of 
Pennacom, " became, notwithstanding her small size, heavy as a 
mountain, and would not consent to be removed by any one but the 
chaplain of the chateau." 

V. — The Ramazan. 81 

dirty paper certain lines and blots, supposed to represent 
the venerable Ka'abah, and collects coppers to defray the 
expenses of his pilgrimage. A steady stream of loungers 
sets through the principal thoroughfares towards the 
Azbakiyah Gardens, which skirt the Frank quarter ; there 
they sit in the moonlight, listening to Greek and Turkish 
bands, or making merry with cakes, toasted grains, 
coffee, sugared-drinks, and the broad pleasantries of Kara 
Gyuz 1 (the local Punch and Judy). Here the scene is less 
thoroughly Oriental than within the city; but the appear- 
ance of Frank dress amongst the varieties of Eastern cos- 
tume, the moon-lit sky, and the light mist hanging over 
the deep shade of the Acacia trees — whose rich scented 
yellow-white blossoms are popularly compared to the old 
Pasha's beard' 2 — make it passing picturesque. And the 
traveller from the far East remarks with wonder the 
presence of certain ladies, whose only mark of modesty is 
the Burka, or face-veil : upon this laxity the police looks 
with lenient eyes, inasmuch as, until very lately, it paid 
a respectable tax to the state. 8 

Returning to the Moslem quarter, you are bewildered 

i Europeans compare " Kara Gyuz " to our Chinese shadows. 
He is the Turkish " Punch," and his pleasantries may remind the 
traveller of what he has read concerning the Mines and Fescennine 
performances of the Romans. On more than one occasion, Kara 
Gyuz has been reported to the police for scandalously jibing and 
deriding consuls, Frank merchants, and even Turkish dignitaries. 

2 Mohammed Ali drained and planted the Azbakiyah, which, 
before his day, was covered with water and mud long after the inun- 
dation had ceased. The Egyptians extract a perfume, an aphrodisiac, 
which they call " Fitnah," from this kind of Acacia. 

3 All " Agapemones " are at this time suppressed, by order of His 
Highness (Abbas Pasha), whose august mother occasionally insisted 
upon banishing whole colleges of Ambubaiae to Upper Egypt. As 
might be expected, this proceeding had a most injurious effect upon 
the morals of society. I was once at Cairo during the ruler's absence 
on a tour up to the Nile ; his departure was the signal for the general 
celebration of Cotyttia. 

VOL. I. 6 

82 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

by its variety of sounds. Everyone talks, and talking 
here is always in extremes, either in a whisper, or in a 
scream ; gesticulation excites the lungs, and strangers 
cannot persuade themselves that men so converse without 
being or becoming furious. All the street cries, too, are 
in the soprano key. " In thy protection ! in thy protec- 
tion ! " shouts a Fellah peasant to a sentinel, who is flogging 
him towards the station-house, followed by a tail of 
women, screaming, " Ya Gharati — ya Dahwati — ya Has- 
rati — ya Nidamati — O my calamity! O my shame!" 
The boys have elected a Pasha, whom they are conduct- 
ing in procession, with wisps of straw for Mash'als, or 
cressets, and outrunners, all huzzaing with ten-schoolboy 
power. " O thy right ! O thy left ! O thy face ! O thy 
heel ! O thy back, thy back ! " cries the panting footman, 
who, huge torch on shoulder, runs before the grandee's 
carriage ; " Bless the Prophet and get out of the way !" 
" O Allah bless him ! " respond the good Moslems, some 
shrinking up to the walls to avoid the stick, others rush- 
ing across the road, so as to give themselves every chance 
of being knocked down. The donkey boy beats his ass 
with a heavy palm-cudgel, — he fears no treadmill here, — 
cursing him at the top of his voice for a " pander," a 
" Jew," a " Christian," and a " son of the One-eyed, 
whose portion is Eternal Punishment." " O chick pease ! 
O pips ! " sings the vendor of parched grains, rattling the 
unsavoury load in his basket. " Out of the way, and 
say, ' There is one God,' " pants the industrious water- 
carrier, laden with a skin, fit burden for a buffalo. 
11 Sweet-water, and gladden thy soul, O lemonade ! " pipes 
the seller of that luxury, clanging his brass cups together. 
Then come the beggars, intensely Oriental. " My supper 
is in Allah's hands, my supper is in Allah's hands ! what- 
ever thou givest, that will go with thee'" chaunts the 
old vagrant, whose wallet perhaps contains more provi- 
sion than the basket of many a respectable shopkeeper. 

V. — The Ramazau. 83 

" Na'al abuk 1 — rucse thy father — O brother of a naughty 
sister ! " is the response of some petulant Greek to the 
touch of the old man's staff. " The grave is darkness, 
and good deeds are its lamp!" sing the blind women, 
rapping two sticks together : " upon Allah ! upon Allah ! 
O daughter!" cry the bystanders, when the obstinate 
14 bint " 2 (daughter) of sixty years seizes their hands, and 
will not let go without extorting a farthing. " Bring the 
sweet" {i.e. fire), "and take the full," 3 {i.e., empty cup), 
euphuistically cry the long-moustached, fierce-browed 
Arnauts to the coffee-house keeper, who stands by them 
charmed by the rhyming repartee that flows so readily 
from their lips. 

" Ham'm," may it be pleasant to thee ! 4 is the signal 
for encounter. 

1 For La' an abuk, curse thy father. So in Europe pious men have 
sworn per diem, instead of per Deum, and " drat " acts for something 

2 A daughter, a girl. In Egypt, every woman expects to be 
addressed as "O lady!" "O female-pilgrim!" "O bride !" or, "O 
daughter !" even though she be on the wrong side of fifty. In Syria 
and in Arabia, you may say " y'al mara !" (O woman) ; but if you 
attempt it near the Nile, the answer of the offended fair one will be 
" may Allah cut out thy heart !" or, "the woman, please Allah, in 
thine eye !" And if you want a violent quarrel, " y'al aguz !" (O old 
woman !) pronounced drawlingly, — y'al ago-o-ooz, — is sure to satisfy 
you. On the plains of Sorrento, in my day, it was always customary, 
when speaking to a peasant girl, to call her " bella fe," (beautiful 
woman), whilst the worst of insults was " vecchiarella." So the 
Spanish Calesero, under the most trying circumstances, calls his 
mule " Vieja, rivieja," (old, very old). Age, it appears, is as unpopular 
in Southern Europe as in Egypt. 

3 "Fire" is called the "sweet" by euphuism, as to name it 
directly would be ill-omened. So in the Moslem law, flame and water 
being the instruments of Allah's wrath, are forbidden to be used by 
temporal rulers. The " full " means an empty coffee cup, as we say 
in India Mez barhdo (" increase the table,") when ordering a servant 
to remove the dishes. 

4 Or " pleasurably and health" : Hanien is a word taken from the 

84 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

" Thou drinkest for ten" replies the other, instead of 
returning the usual religious salutation. 

" I am the cock and thou art the hen!" is the re- 
joinder, — a tart one. 

" Nay, I am the thick one and thou art the thin!" 
resumes the first speaker, and so on till they come to 
equivoques which will not bear a literal English trans- 

And sometimes, high above the hubbub, rises the melo- 
dious voice of the blind mu'ezzin, who, from his balcony 
in the beetling tower rings forth, " Hie ye to devotion ! 
Hie ye to salvation." And (at morning-prayer time) he 
adds : " Devotion is better than sleep ! Devotion is 
better than sleep!" Then good Moslems piously stand 
up, and mutter, previous to prayer, " Here am I at Thy 
call, O Allah ! here am I at Thy call !" 

Sometimes I walked with my friend to the citadel, 
and sat upon a high wall, one of the outworks of 
Mohammed Ali's Mosque, enjoying a view which, seen 
by night, when the summer moon is near the full, has a 
charm no power of language can embody. Or escaping 
from " stifled Cairo's filth, 1 " we passed, through the Gate 
of Victory, into the wilderness beyond the City of the 
Dead. 2 Seated upon some mound of ruins, we inhaled 

Koran. The proper answer to this is " May Allah cause thee to have 
pleasure !" Hanna-kumu'llah, not " Allah yahannik !" which I have 
heard abominably perverted by Arnaut and other ruffians. 

1 This in these days must be said comparatively : Ibrahim 
Pasha's order, that every housekeeper should keep the space before 
his house properly swept and cleaned, has made Cairo the least filthy 
city in the East. 

2 Here lies the Swiss Burckhardt, who enjoyed a wonderful 
immunity from censure, until a certain pseudo-orientalist of the pres- 
ent day seized the opportunity of using the " unscrupulous tra- 
veller's " information, and of abusing his memory. Some years ago, 
the sum of £20 (I am informed) was collected, in order to raise a 
fitting monument over the discoverer of Petra's humble grave 

V. — The Ramazan. 85 

the fine air of the Desert, inspiriting as a cordial, when 
star-light and dew-mists diversified a scene, which, by 
day, is one broad sea of yellow loam with billows of 
chalk rock, thinly covered by a film-like spray of sand 
surging and floating in the fiery wind. There, within a 
mile of crowded life, all is desolate ; the town walls seem 
crumbling to decay, the hovels are tenantless, and the 
paths untrodden ; behind you lies the Wild, before you, the 
thousand tomb-stones, ghastly in their whiteness ; while 
beyond them the tall dark forms of the Mamluk Soldans' 
towers rise from the low and hollow ground like the spirits 
of kings guarding ghostly subjects in the Shadowy Realm. 
Nor less weird than the scene are the sounds ! — the 
hyaena's laugh, the howl of the wild dog, and the screech 
of the low-flying owl. Or we spent the evening at some 
Takiyah 1 (Darwayshes' Oratory), generally preferring that 
called the " Gulshani," near the Muayyid Mosque outside 
the Mutawalli's saintly door. There is nothing attractive 
in its appearance. You mount a flight of ragged steps, 
and enter a low verandah enclosing an open stuccoed 
terrace, where stands the holy man's domed tomb : the 
two stories contain small dark rooms in which the Dar- 
wayshes dwell, and the ground-floor doors open into the 

Some objection, however, was started, because Moslems are supposed 
to claim Burckhardt as one of their own saints. Only hear the 
Egyptian account of his death ! After returning from Al-Hijaz, he 
taught Tajwid (Koran chaunting^ in the Azhar Mosque, where the 
learned, suspecting him to be at heart an infidel, examined his 
person, and found the formula of the Mohammedan faith written 
in token of abhorrence upon the soles of his feet. Thereupon, the 
principal of the Mosque, in a transport of holy indignation, did 
decapitate him with one blow of the sword. It only remains to be 
observed, that nothing can be more ridiculous than the popular 
belief, except it be our hesitating to offend the prejudices of such 

1 A Takiyah is a place where Darwayshes have rooms, and per- 
form their devotions. 

86 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

verandah. During the fast-month, Zikrs 1 are rarely per- 
formed in the Takiyahs : the inmates pray there in con- 
gregations, or they sit conversing upon benches in the 
shade. And a curious medley of men they are, composed 
of the choicest vagabonds from every nation of Al- Islam. 
Beyond this I must not describe the Takiyah or the 
doings there, for the " path " of the Darwaysh may not 
be trodden by feet profane. 

Curious to see something of my old friends the Per- 
sians, I called with Haji Wali upon one Mirza Husayn, 
who by virtue of his dignity as " Shahbandar 2 " (he calls 
himself " Consul-General "), ranks with the dozen little 
quasi-diplomatic kings of Cairo. He suspends over his 
lofty gate a sign-board in which the Lion and the Sun 
(Iran's proud ensign) are by some Egyptian limner's art 
metamorphosed into a preternatural tabby cat grasping 
a scimitar, with the jolly fat face of a " gay " young lady, 
curls and all complete, resting fondly upon her pet's con- 
cave back. This high dignitary's reception room was a 
court-yard sub dio : fronting the door were benches and 
cushions composing the Sadr or high place, with the 
parallel rows of Diwans spread down the less dignified 
sides, and a line of naked boards, the lowest seats, ranged 
along the door-wall. In the middle stood three little 
tables supporting three huge lanterns — as is their size so 
is the owner's dignity — each of which contained three of 
the largest spermaceti candles. 

The Haji and I entering took our seats upon the 
side benches with humility, and exchanged salutations 
with the great man on the Sadr. When the Darbar or 
levee was full, in stalked the Mirza, and all arose as he 
calmly divested himself of his shoes; and with all due 

i Certain forms of worship peculiar to Darwayshes. For a 
description see Lane (Modern Egyptians, ch. 24). 

2 Shahbandar, Harbour-King, is here equivalent to our " Consul." 

V. — The Ramazan. 87 

solemnity ascended his proper cushion. He is a short, thin 
man about thirty-five, with regular features and the usual 
preposterous lamb-skin cap and beard, two peaked black 
cones at least four feet in length, measured from the tips, 
resting on a slender basement of pale yellow face. After 
a quarter of an hour of ceremonies, polite mutterings and 
low bendings with the right hand on the left breast, the 
Mirza's pipe was handed to him first, in token of his 
dignity — at Teheran he was probably an under-clerk in 
some government office. In due time we were all served 
with Kaliuns l (Persian hookahs) and coffee by the ser- 
vants, who made royal conges whenever they passed the 
great man ; and more than once the janissary, in dignity 
of belt and crooked sabre, entered the court to quicken 
our awe. 

The conversation was the usual Oriental thing. It 
is, for instance, understood that you have seen strange 
things in strange lands. 

" Voyaging — is — victory," quotes the Mirza ; the 
quotation is a hackneyed one, but it steps forth majestic 
as to pause and emphasis. 

11 Verily," you reply with equal ponderousness of 
pronunciation and novelty of citation, " in leaving home 
one learns life, yet a journey is a bit of Jahannam." 

Or if you are a physician the " lieu commun " will be, 
" Little-learn'd doctors the body destroy : 
Little-learn'd parsons the soul destroy." 

To which you will make answer, if you would pass 
for a man of belles lettres, by the well-known lines, 
" Of a truth, the physician hath power with drugs, 
Which, long as the patient hath life, may relieve him ; 
But the tale of our days being duly told, 
The doctor is daft, and his drugs deceive him." 

After sitting there with dignity, like the rest of the 
guests, I took my leave, delighted with the truly Persian 

1 Written " Ghalayun." 

88 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

" apparatus " of the scene. The Mirza, having no salary, 
lives by fees extorted from his subjects, who pay rather 
than lack protection ; and his dragoman for a counter-fee 
will sell their interests shamelessly. He is a hidalgo of 
blue blood in pride, pompousness and poverty. There is 
not a sheet of writing-paper in the " Consulate " — when 
they want one a farthing is sent to the grocer's — yet the 
Consul drives out in an old carriage with four outriders, 
two tall-capped men preceding and two following the 
crazy vehicle. And the Egyptians laugh heartily at this 
display, being accustomed by Mohammed Ali to consider 
all such parade obsolete. 

About half-an-hour before midnight sounds the Abrar 1 
or call to prayer, at which time the latest wanderers 
return home to prepare for the Sahur, their dawn meal. 
You are careful on the way to address each sentinel with 
a "Peace be upon thee!" especially if you have no 
lantern, otherwise you may chance to sleep in the guard- 
house. And, chemin faisant, you cannot but stop to gaze 
at streets as little like what civilised Europe understands 
by that name as is an Egyptian temple to the new Houses 
of Parliament. 

There are certain scenes, cannily termed " Ken- 
speckle," which print themselves upon Memory, and 
which endure as long as Memory lasts,— a thunder-cloud 
bursting upon the Alps, a night of stormy darkness off 
the Cape, an African tornado, and, perhaps, most awful 
of all, a solitary journey over the sandy Desert. 

Of this class is a stroll through the thoroughfares 
of old Cairo by night. All is squalor in the brilliancy of 
noon-day. In darkness you see nothing but a silhouette. 
When, however, the moon is high in the heavens, and 
the summer stars rain light upon God's world, there is 
something not of earth in the view. A glimpse at the 

i See Lane (Modern Egyptians, chap. 24). 

V. — The Ramazan. 89 

strip of pale blue sky above scarcely reveals three ells 
of breadth : in many places the interval is less : here 
the copings meet, and there the outriggings of the houses 
seem to interlace. Now they are parted by a pencil of 
snowy sheen, then by a flood of silvery splendour ; while 
under the projecting cornices and the huge hanging 
balcony-windows of fantastic wood-work, supported by 
gigantic brackets and corbels, and under deep verandahs, 
and gateways, vast enough for Behemoth to pass through, 
and in blind wynds and long cul-de-sacs, lie patches of thick 
darkness, made visible by the dimmest of oil lamps. The 
arch is a favourite feature : in one place you see it a 
mere skeleton-rib opening into some huge deserted hall ; 
in another the ogre is full of fretted stone and wood 
carved like lace-work. Not a line is straight, the tall 
dead w T alls of the Mosques slope over their massy but- 
tresses, and the thin minarets seem about to fall across 
your path. The cornices project crookedly from the 
houses, while the great gables stand merely by force of 
cohesion. And that the Line of Beauty may not be 
wanting, the graceful bending form of the palm, on 
whose topmost feathers, quivering in the cool night 
breeze, the moonbeam glistens, springs from a gloomy 
mound, or from the darkness of a mass of houses almost 
level with the ground. Briefly, the whole view is so 
strange, so fantastic, so ghostly, that it seems prepos- 
terous to imagine that in such places human beings like 
ourselves can be born, and live through life, and carry out 
the command " increase and multiply," and die. 




When the Byzantine Christians, after overthrowing 
the temples of Paganism, meditated re-building and re- 
modelling them, poverty of invention and artistic impotence 
reduced them to group the spoils in a heterogeneous 
mass. 1 The sea-ports of Egypt and the plains and moun- 
tains of Syria abounding in pillars of granite, syenite and 
precious marbles, in Pharaonic, Grecian, and Roman 
statuary, and in all manner of structural ornaments, the 
architects were at no loss for material. Their Syncretism, 
the result of chance and precipitancy, of extravagance 
and incuriousness, fell under eyes too ignorant to be 
hurt by the hybrid irregularity : it was perpetuated in the 
so-called Saracenic style, a plagiarism from the Byzantine, 2 
and it was reiterated in the Gothic, an offshoot from the 
Saracenic. 3 This fact accounts in the Gothic style for 
its manifold incongruities of architecture, and for the 
phenomenon, — not solely attributable to the buildings 

i In the capitals of the columns, for instance. 

2 This direct derivation is readily detected in the Mosques at Old 

3 The roof supported by arches resting on pillars, was unknown 
to classic antiquity, and in the earliest ages of Al-Islam, the cloisters 
were neither arched nor domed. A modern writer justly observes, 
" A compound of arcade and colonnade was suggested to the archi- 
tects of the Middle Ages by the command that ancient buildings gave 
them of marble columns." 

VI. — The Mosque. 91 

having been erected piecemeal, — of its most classic period 
being that of its greatest irregularity. 

Such " architectural lawlessness," such disregard for 
symmetry, — the result, I believe, of an imperfect "amal- 
gamation and enrichment," — may doubtless be defended 
upon the grounds both of cause and of effect. Archi- 
tecture is of the imitative arts, and Nature, the Myrio- 
morphous, everywhere delighting in variety, appears to 
abhor nothing so much as perfect similarity and pre- 
cise uniformity. To copy her exactly we must therefore 
seek that general analogy compatible with individual 
variety ; in fact, we should avoid the over-display of 
order and regularity. And again, it may be asserted that, 
however incongruous these disorderly forms may appear 
to the conventional eye, we find it easy to surmount our 
first antipathy. Perhaps we end in admiring them the 
more, as we love those faces in which irregularity of 
feature is compensated for by diversity and piquancy 
of expression. 

There is nothing, I believe, new in the Arab Mosque ; 
it is an unconscious revival of the forms used from the 
earliest ages to denote by symbolism the worship of the 
generative and the creative gods. The reader will excuse 
me if I only glance at a subject of which the investigation 
would require a volume, and which, discussed at greater 
length, would be out of place in such a narrative as this. 

The first Mosque in Al-Islam was erected by 
Mohammed at Kuba, near Al-Madinah : shortly after- 
wards, when he entered Meccah as a conqueror, he 
destroyed the three hundred and sixty idols of the Arab 
Pantheon, and thus purified that venerable building from 
its abominations. He had probably observed in Syrian 
Bostra the two forms appropriated by the Christians to 
their places of worship, the cross and the parallelogramic 
Basilica ; he therefore preferred for the prayers of the 
" Saving Faith " a square, — some authors say, with, others 

92 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

without, a cloister. At length in the reign of Al-Walid 
(a.h. 90) the cupola, the niche, and the minaret made 
their appearance ; and what is called the Saracenic style 
became for ever the order of the Moslem world. 

The Hindus I believe to have been the first who 
symbolised by an equilateral triangle their peculiar cult, 
the Yoni-Linga : in their temple architecture, it became 
either a conoid or a perfect pyramid. Egypt denoted it 
by the obelisk, peculiar to that country ; and the form 
appeared in different parts of the world : thus in Eng- 
land it was a mere upright stone, and in Ireland a round 
tower. This we might expect to see. D'Hancarville 
and Brotier have successfully traced the worship itself, in 
its different modifications, to all people : the symbol would 
therefore be found everywhere. The old Arab minaret 
is a plain cylindrical or polygonal tower, without balcony 
or stages, widely different from the Turkish, modern 
Egyptian, and Hijazi combinations of tube and prism, 
happily compared by a French traveller to "une chav.dclle 
coiffee d'un eteignoivy And finally the ancient minaret, 
made solid as all Gothic architecture is, and provided 
with a belfry, became the spire and steeple of our ances- 

From time immemorial, in hot and rainy lands, a 
hypaethral court, either round or square, surrounded by a 
covered portico, was used for the double purpose of church 
and mart, — a place where God and Mammon were wor- 
shipped turn by turn. In some places we find rings of 
stones, like the Persian Pyrcetheia ; in others, circular 
concave buildings representing the vault of heaven, where 
Fire, the divine symbol, was worshipped ; and in Arabia, 
columnar aisles, which, surmounted by the splendid blue 
vault, resemble the palm-grove. The Greeks adopted 
this idea in the fanes of Creator Bacchus ; and at Pozzuoli, 
near Naples, it may be seen in the building vulgarly 
called the Temple of Serapis. It was equally well known 

VI. — The Mosque. 93 

to the Kelts : in some places the Temenos was a circle, 
in others a quadrangle. And such to the present day is 
the Mosque of Al- Islam. 

Even the Riwak or porches surrounding the area in 
the Mosque are revivals of older forms. " The range of 
square buildings which enclose the temple of Serapis are 
not, properly speaking, parts of the fane, but apartments 
of the priests, places for victims, and sacred utensils, and 
chapels dedicated to subordinate deities, introduced by a 
more complicated and corrupt worship, and probably un- 
known to the founders of the original edifice." The 
cloisters in the Mosque became cells, used as lecture 
rooms, and stores for books bequeathed to the college. 
They are unequal, because some are required to be of 
larger, others to be of smaller, dimensions. The same 
reason causes difference of size when the building is 
distributed into four hyposteles opening upon the area : 
the porch in the direction of the Ka'abah, where wor- 
shippers mostly congregate, demands greater depth 
than the other three. The wings were not unfrequently 
made unequal, either from want of building materials, or 
because the same extent of accommodation was not re- 
quired in both. The columns were of different substances ; 
some of handsome marble, others of rough stone meanly 
plastered over, with dissimilar capitals, vulgarly cut 
shafts of various sizes ; here with a pediment, there with- 
out, now turned upside down, then joined together by 
halves in the centre, and almost invariably nescient of 
intercolumnar rule. This is the result: of Byzantine syn- 
cretism, carelessly and ignorantly grafted upon Arab 
ideas of the natural and the sublime. Loving and ad- 
miring the great, or rather the big in plan, 1 they care 

1 " The Oriental mind," says a clever writer on Indian subjects, 
" has achieved everything save real greatness of aim and execution." 
That the Arab mind always aimed, and still aims, at the physically 
great ij sufficiently evident. Nothing affords the Meccans greater 

94 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

little for the execution of mere details, and they have not 
the acumen to discern the effect which clumsy workman- 
ship, crooked lines, and visible joints, — parts apparently 
insignificant, — exercise upon the whole of an edifice. 
Their use of colours was a false taste, commonly 
displayed by mankind in their religious houses, and 
statues of the gods. The Hindus paint their pagodas, 
inside and outside ; and rub vermilion, in token of honour, 
over their deities. The Persian Colossi of Kaiomars and 
his consort on the Balkh road and the Sphinx of Egypt, 
as well as the temples of the Nile, still show traces of 
artificial complexion. The fanes in classic Greece have 
been dyed. In the Forum Romanum, one of the finest 
buildings, still bears stains of the Tyrian purple. And 
to mention no other instances, in the churches and 
belfries of Modern Italy, we see alternate bands of 
white and black material so disposed as to give them 
the appearance of giant zebras. The origin of " Arab- 
esque " ornament must be referred to one of the 
principles of Al- Islam. The Moslem, forbidden by his 
law to decorate his Mosque with statuary and pictures, 1 
supplied their place with quotations from the Koran, and 
inscriptions, " plastic metaphysics," of marvellous per- 

pride than the vast size of their temple. Nothing is more humiliating 
to the people of Al-Madinah than the comparative smallness of their 
Mosque. Still, with a few exceptions, Arab greatness is the vulgar 
great, not the grand. 

i That is to say, imitations of the human form. All the doctors 
of Al-Islam, however, differ on this head : some absolutely forbidding 
any delineation of what has life, under pain of bsing cast into hell ; 
others permitting pictures even of the bodies, though not of the 
faces, of men. The Arabs are the strictest of Misiconists ; yet even 
they allow plans and pictures of the Holy Shrines. Other nations 
are comparatively lax. The Alhambra abounds in paintings and fres- 
coes. The Persians never object to depict in books and on walls the 
battles of Rustam, and the Turks preserve in the Seraglio treasury 
of Constantinople portraits, by Greeks and other artists, of their 
Sultans in regular succession. 

VI. — The Mosque. 95 

plexity. His alphabet lent itself to the purpose, and 
hence probably arose that almost inconceivable variety 
of lace-like fretwork, of incrustations, of Arabesques, and ot 
geometric flowers, in which his eye delights to lose itself. 1- 
The Meccan Mosque became a model to the world 
of. Al- Islam, and the nations that embraced the new faith 
copied the consecrated building, as religiously as Christen- 
dom produced imitations ol the Holy Sepulchre. 2 The 
Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, of Amru at Babylon on 
the Nile, and of Taylun at Cairo were erected, with some 
trifling improvements, such as arched cloisters and in- 
scribed cornices, upon the plan of the Ka'abah. From 
Egypt and Palestine the ichnography spread far and 
wide. It was modified, as might be expected, by national 
taste ; what in Arabia was simple and elegant became 
highly ornate in Spain, 3 florid in Turkey, sturdy in Syria, 
and effeminate in India. Still divergence of detail had 
not, even after the lapse of twelve centuries, materially 
altered the fundamental form. 

1 This is at least a purer taste than that of our Gothic architects, 
who ornamented their cathedrals with statuary so inappropriate as to 
suggest to the antiquary remains of the worship of the Hellespontine 

2 At Bruges, Bologna, (St. Stefano), and Nurnberg, there are, if I 
recollect right, imitations of the Holy Sepulchre, although the 
" palmer " might not detect the resemblance at first sight. That in 
the Church of Jerusalem at Bruges was built by a merchant, who trav- 
elled three times to Palestine in order to ensure correctness, and totally 
failed. " Arab art," says a writer in the " Athenaeum," " sprang from 
the Koran, as the Gothic did from the Bible." He should have 
remembered, that Arab art, in its present shape, was borrowed by 
Al-Walid from the Greeks, and, perhaps, in part from the Persians 
and the Hindus, but that the model buildings existed at Meccah, and 
in Al-Yaman, centuries before the people had " luxurious shawls and 
weavings of Cashmere " to suggest mural decoration. 

3 See Theophile Gautier's admirable description of the Mosque 
at Cordova. 

96 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Perhaps no Eastern city affords more numerous or 
more accessible specimens of Mosque architecture than 
Cairo. Between 300 and 400 places of worship ; x some 
stately piles, others ruinous hovels, many new, more 
decaying and earthquake-shaken, with minarets that rival 
in obliquity the Pisan monster, are open to the traveller's 
inspection. And Europeans by following the advice of 
their hotel-keeper have penetrated, and can penetrate, 
into any one they please.' 2 If architecture be really what 
I believe it to be, the highest expression of a people's 
artistic feeling, — highest because it includes all others, — 
to compare the several styles of the different epochs, to 
observe how each monarch building his own Mosque, and 
calling it by his own name, identified the manner of the 
monument with himself, and to trace the gradual decadence 
of art through one thousand two hundred years, down 
to the present day, must be a work of no ordinary inter- 
est to Orientalists. The limits of my plan, however, 
compel me to place only the heads of the argument before 
the reader. May I be allowed to express a hope that 
it will induce some learned traveller to investigate a 
subject in every way worthy his attention ? 

The desecrated Jami' Taylun (ninth century) is simple 
and massive, yet elegant, and in some of its details pecu- 
liar. 3 One of the four colonnades 4 still remains un- 

1 Joseph Pitts, of Exeter, declares that Cairo contained in his 
day (a.d. 1678-93) 5 or 6000 Mosques, public and private ; at the 
same time he corrects Mr. Collins, who enumerated 6000 public, and 
20,000 particular buildings, and M. de Thevenot, who (Part I. p. 129), 
supplied the city with 23,000 ! 

2 In Niebuhr's time, a Christian passing one of the very holy 
buildings on foot was liable to be seized and circumcised. All Mosques 
may now be entered with certain precautions. When at Cairo, 
I heard occasionally of a Frank being spat at and insulted, but the 
instances were rare. 

3 The " Handbook " contains the story current among the learned 
concerning the remarkable shape of the minaret. 

4 The columns support pointed arches, which, therefore, were 

VI. — The Mosque. 97 

occupied by paupers to show the original magnificence of 
the building ; the other porches are walled up, and inha- 
bited. In the centre of a quadrangle about 100 paces 
square is a domed building springing from a square which 
occupies the proper place of the Ka'abah. This " Jami' 1 " 
Cathedral is interesting as a point of comparison. If it 
be an exact copy of the Meccan temple as it stood in 
a.d. 879, it shows that the latter has greatly altered in 
this our modern day. 

Next in date to the Taylun Mosque is that of the 
Sultan al- Hakim, third Caliph of the Fatimites, and 
founder of the Druze mysteries. The minarets are re- 
markable in shape, as well as size : they are unprovided 
with the usual outer gallery, they are based upon a 
cube of masonry, and they are pierced above with aper- 
tures apparently meaningless. A learned Cairene in- 
formed me that these spires were devised by the eccentric 
monarch to disperse, like large censers, fragrant smoke 
over the city during the hours of prayer. The Azhar and 
Hasanayn' 2 Mosques are simple and artless piles, cele- 
brated for sanctity, but remarkable for nothing save 
ugliness. Few buildings, however, are statelier in appear- 

known at Cairo 200 years before they were introduced into England. 
By the discoveries of M. Mariette, it is now ascertained that the 
Egyptians were perfectly acquainted with the round arch and key- 
stone at a period antecedent to the architectural existence of Greece. 

1 A " Jami' " is a place where people assemble to pray — a house 
of public worship. A " Masjid " is any place of prayer, private or 
public. From " Masjid " we derive our " Mosque" : its changes on 
the road to Europe are almost as remarkable as that described in the 
satiric lines, — 

" Alfana vient d'equus, sans doute, 
Mais il faut avouer aussi, 
Qu en venant de la jusqu'ici 
II a bien change sur la route." 

2 So called, because supposed to contain relics of Hasan and 
VOL. I. 7 

98 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

ance, or give a nobler idea of both founder and architect 
than that which bears Sultan Hasan's name. The 
stranger stands awe-struck before walls high towering 
without a single break, a hypaethral court severe in mas- 
culine beauty, a gateway that might suit the palace of 
the Titans, and a lofty minaret of massive grandeur. 
This Mosque (finished about a.d. 1363), with its fortress 
aspect, owns no more relationship to the efforts of a later 
age than does Canterbury Cathedral to an Anglo-Indian 
" Gothic." For dignified beauty and refined taste, the 
Mosque and tomb of Kaid Bey and the other Mamluk 
kings are admirable. Even in their present state, pic- 
turesqueness presides over decay, and the traveller has 
seldom seen aught more striking than the rich light of 
the stained glass pouring through the first shades of 
evening upon the marble floor. 

The modern Mosques must be visited to see Egyptian 
architecture in its decline and fall. That of Sittna Zaynab 
(our Lady Zaynab), founded by Murad Bey, the Mamluk, 
and interrupted by the French invasion, shows, even in 
its completion, some lingering traces of taste. But 
nothing can be more offensive than the building which 
every tourist flogs donkey in his hurry to see — old Mo- 
hammed Ali's " Folly " in the citadel. Its Greek architect 
has toiled to caricature a Mosque to emulate the glories 
of our English " Oriental Pavilion." Outside, as 
Monckton Milnes sings, 

" The shining minarets, thin and high," 
are so thin, so high above the lumpy domes, that they 

Husayn, the martyred grandsons of Mohammed. The tradition is 
little credited, and the Persians ostentatiously avoid visiting the 
place. " You are the first 'Ajami that ever said the Fatihah at this 
holy spot," quoth the Mujawir, or guardian of the tomb, after com- 
pelling me, almost by force, to repeat the formula, which he recited 
with the prospect of a few piastres. 

VI. — The Mosque. 99 

look like the spindles of crouching crones, and are placed 
in full sight of Sultan Hasan the Giant, so as to derive 
all the disadvantages of the contrast. Is the pointed 
arch forgotten by man, that this hapless building should 
be disgraced by large and small parallelograms of glass 
and wood, 1 so placed and so formed as to give its 
exterior the appearance of a European theatre coiffe with 
Oriental cupolas ? Outside as well as inside, money has 
been lavished upon alabaster full of flaws ; round the 
bases of pillars run gilt bands ; in places the walls are 
painted with streaks to resemble marble, and the wood- 
work is overlaid with tinsel gold. After a glance at these 
abominations, one cannot be surprised to hear the old 
men of Egypt lament that, in spite of European educa- 
tion, and of prizes encouraging geometry and architecture, 
modern art offers a melancholy contrast to antiquity. It 
is said that H. H. Abbas Pasha proposes to erect for 
himself a Mosque that shall far surpass the boast of the 
last generation. I venture to hope that his architect 
will light the " sacred fire " from Sultan Hasan's, not 
from Mohammed Ali's, Turco-Grecian splendours. The 
former is like the genuine Osmanli of past ages, fierce, 
cold, with a stalwart frame, index of a strong mind — 
there was a sullen grandeur about the man. The latter 
is the pert and puny modern Turk in pantaloons, frock 
coat and Fez, ill-dressed, ill-conditioned, and ill-bred, body 
and soul. 

1 This is becoming the fashion for young Egyptians, who will 
readily receive a pair of common green persiennes in exchange for fine 
old windows of elaborately carved wood. They are as sensible in a 
variety of other small matters. Natives of a hot climate generally 
wear slippers of red and yellow leather, because they are cool and 
comfortable : on the banks of the Nile, the old chaussure is gradually 
yielding to black shoes, which blister the feet with heat, but are 
European, and, therefore, bon ton. It must, however, be confessed 
that the fine old carved wood-work of the windows was removed 
because it was found to be dangerous in cases of fire. 

ioo Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

We will now enter the Mosque Al-Azhar. At the 
dwarf wooden railing we take off our slippers, hold them 
in the left hand, sole to sole, that no dirt may fall from 
them, and cross the threshold with the right foot, ejacu- 
lating Bismillah, &c. Next we repair to the Mayza'ah, 
or large tank, for ablution, without which it is unlawful 
to appear in the House of Allah. We then seek some 
proper place for devotion, place our slippers on some other 
object in front of us to warn the lounger, and perform a 
two-bow prayer in honour of the Mosque. 1 This done, 
we may wander about, and inspect the several objects of 

The moon shines splendidly upon a vast open court, 
paved with stones which are polished like glass by the 
feet of the Faithful. There is darkness in the body of the 
building, a large oblong hall, at least twice too lengthy 
for its height, supported by a forest of pillars, thin, poor- 
looking, crooked marble columns, planted avenue-like, 
upon torn and dirty matting. A few oil lamps shed 
doubtful light over scanty groups, who are debating some 
point of grammar, or are listening to the words of wisdom 
that fall from the mouth of a Wa'iz.' 2 Presently they will 
leave the hypostyle, and throw themselves upon the flags 
of the quadrangle, where they may enjoy the open air 
and avoid some fleas. It is now " long vacation " : so the 
holy building has become a kind of Caravanserai for tra- 

i Irreligious men neglect this act of propriety. There are 
many in Egypt who will habitually transgress one of the funda- 
mental orders of their faith, namely, never to pray when in a state 
of religious impurity. In popular Argot, prayer without ablution 
is called Salat Mamlukiyah, or " slaves' prayers," because such men 
perform their devotions only in order to avoid the master's staff. 
Others will touch the Koran when impure, a circumstance which 
highly disgusts Indian Moslems. 

2 An " adviser," or " lecturer," — any learned man who, generally 
in the months of Ramazan and Muharram, after the Friday service 
and sermon, delivers a discourse upon the principles of Al-Islam. 

VI. — The Mosque. 101 

vellers ; perhaps a score of nations meet in it ; there is 
a confusion of tongues, and the din at times is deafening. 
Around the court runs a tolerably well-built colonnade, 
whose entablature is garnished with crimson arabesques, 
and in the inner wall are pierced apartments, now closed 
with plank doors. Of the Riwak, as the porches are 
called, the Azhar contains twenty-four, one for each re- 
cognised nation in Al- Islam, and of these fifteen are still 
open to students. 1 Inside them we find nothing but 
matting and a pile of large dingy wooden boxes, which 
once contained the college library ; they are now, generally 
speaking, empty. 2 

There is nothing worth seeing in the cluster of little 
dark chambers that form the remainder of the Azhar. 
Even the Zawiyat al-Umyan (or the Blind men's Oratory), 
a place where so many "town and gown rows" have 
emanated, is rendered interesting only by the fanaticism 
of its inmates, and the certainty that, if recognised in this 

i Amongst them is a foundation for Jawi scholars. Some of our 
authors, by a curious mistake, have confounded Moslem Jawa (by 
the Egyptians pronounced Gawa), with " Goa," the Christian colony 
of the Portuguese. 

2 Cairo was once celebrated for its magnificent collections of 
books. Besides private libraries, each large Mosque had its biblio- 
theca, every MS. of which was marked with the word " Wakf " 
(entailed bequest), or " Wukifa l'lllahi Ta'ala " (bequeathed to God 
Almighty). But Cairo has now for years supplied other countries 
with books, and the decay of religious zeal has encouraged the 
unprincipled to steal and sell MSS. marked with the warning words. 
The Hijaz, in particular, has been inundated with books from Egypt. 
Cairo has still some large libraries, but most of them are private 
property, and the proprietors will not readily lend or give access to 
their treasures. The principal opportunity of buying books is dur- 
ing the month Ramazan, when they are publicly sold in the Azhar 
Mosque. The Orientalist will, however, meet with many disappoint- 
ments ; besides the difficulty of discovering good works, he will find 
in the booksellers, scribes, et hoc gouts omne, a finished race of scoun- 

102 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

sanctum, we shall run the gauntlet under the staves of 
its proprietors, the angry blind. 

The Azhar is the grand collegiate Mosque of this 
city _the Christ Church, in fact, of Cairo,— once cele- 
brated throughout the world of Al- Islam. It was built, 
I was told, originally in poor style by one Jauhar al- 
Kaid, 1 originally the slave of a Moorish merchant, in 
consequence of a dream that ordered him to "erect a 
place whence the light of science should shine upon 

It gradually increased by "Wakf 2 " (entailed be- 
quests) of lands, money, and books ; and pious rulers 
made a point of adding to its size and wealth. Of late 
years it has considerably declined, the result of sequestra- 
tions, and of the diminished esteem in which the purely 
religious sciences are now held in the land of Egypt. 3 
Yet it is calculated that between 2000 and 3000 students 
of all nations and ages receive instruction here gratis. 

1 Lane (Mod. Egyptians) has rectified Baron von Hammer- 
Purgstall's mistake concerning the word "Azhar"; our English 
Orientalist translates it the " splendid Mosque." I would venture to 
add, that the epithet must be understood in a spiritual and not in a 
material sense. Wilkinson attributes the erection of the building to 
Jauhar al-Kaid, general under Al-Moaz, about a.d. 970. Wilson 
ascribes it partly to Al-Moaz the Fatimite (a.d. 973), partly to his 
general and successor, Al-Hakim (?). 

2 Wakf, property become mortmain. My friend Yacoub Artin 
declares that the whole Nile Valley has parcel by parcel been made 
Wakf at some time or other, and then retaken. 

3 If I may venture to judge, after the experience of a few 
months, there is now a re-action in favour of the old system. 
Mohammed Ali managed to make his preparatory, polytechnic, and 
other schools, thoroughly distasteful to the people, and mothers 
blinded their children, to prevent their being devoted for life to 
infidel studies. The printing-press, contrasting in hideousness with 
the beauty of the written character, and the contemptible Arabic 
style of the various works translated by order of government from 
the European languages, have placed arms in the hands of the 
orthodox party. 

VI. — The Mosque. 103 

Each one is provided with bread, in a quantity deter- 
mined by the amount of endowment, at the Riwak set apart 
for his nation, 1 with some article of clothing on festival 
days, and a few piastres once a year. The professors, 
who are about 150 in number, may not take fees from 
their pupils ; some lecture on account of the religious 
merit of the action, others to gain the high title of 
"Teacher in Al Azhar. 2 " Six officials receive stipends 
from the government, — the Shaykh al-Jami' or dean, the 
Shaykh al-Sakka, who regulates the provision of water 
for ablution, and others that may be called heads of 

The following is the course of study in the Azhar. 
The school-boy of four or five years' standing has been 
taught, by a liberal application of the maxim "the Green 
Rod is of the Trees of Paradise," to chant the Koran with- 
out understanding it, the elementary rules of arithmetic, 
and, if he is destined to be a learned man, the art of writ- 
ing. 3 He then registers his name in Al-Azhar, and applies 

1 Finding the Indian Riwak closed, and hearing that an endow- 
ment still belonged to it, I called twice upon the Shaykh or Dean, 
wishing to claim the stipend as a precedent. But I failed in finding 
him at home, and was obliged to start hurriedly for Suez. The 
Indians now generally study in the Sulaymaniyah, or Afghan 

2 As the attending of lectures is not compulsory, the result is 
that the lecturer is always worth listening to. May I commend this 
consideration to our college reformers at home ? In my day, men 
were compelled to waste — notoriously to waste — an hour or two 
every morning, for the purpose of putting a few pounds sterling into 
the pocket of some droning Don. 

3 The would-be calligrapher must go to a Constantinople Khwajah 
(schoolmaster), and after writing about two hours a day regularly 
through a year or two, he will become, if he has the necessary dis- 
position, a skilful penman. This acquirement is but little valued in 
the present day, as almost nothing is to be gained by it. The Turks 
particularly excel in the ornamental character called " Suls." I 
have seen some Korans beautifully written ; and the late Pasha gave 
an impetus to this branch of industry, by forbidding, under the 

104 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

himself to the branches of study most cultivated in Al- 
Islam, namely Nahw (syntax), Fikh (the law), Hadis 
(the traditions of the Prophet), and Tafsir, or Exposition 
of the Koran. 

The young Egyptian reads at the same time 
Sarf, or Inflexion, and Nahw (syntax). But as Arabic is 
his mother-tongue, he is not required to study the former 
so deeply as are the Turks, the Persians, and the Indians. 
If he desire, however, to be a proficient, he must carefully 
peruse five books in Sarf, 1 and six in Nahw. 2 

plea of religious scruples, the importation of the incorrect Korans 
cheaply lithographed by the Persians at Bombay. The Persians 
surpass the Turks in all but the Suls writing. Of late years, the 
Pashas of Cairo have employed a gentleman from Khorasan, whose 
travelling name is " Mirza Sanglakh " to decorate their Mosques 
with inscriptions. I was favoured with a specimen of his art, and 
do not hesitate to rank him the first of his age, and second to 
none amongst the ancients but those Raphaels of calligraphy, Mir 
of Shiraz, and Rahman of Herat. The Egyptians and Arabs, 
generally speaking, write a coarse and clumsy hand, and, as usual 
in the East, the higher the rank of the writer is, the worse his scrawl 

i The popular volumes are, i. Al-Amsilah, showing the simple 
conjugation of the triliteral verb ; 2. Bisi'a, the work of some un- 
known author, explaining the formation of the verb into increased 
infinities, the quadrilateral verb, &c. ; 3. The Maksu'a, a well-known 
book written by the great Imam Abu' Hanifah ; 4. The " Izzi," an 
explanatory treatise, the work of a Turk, " Izzat Effendi." And 
lastly, the Marah of Ahmad al-Sa'udi. These five tracts are bound 
together in a little volume, printed at the government establishment. 
Al-Amsilah is explained in Turkish, to teach boys the art of " parsing "; 
Egyptians generally confine themselves in Al-Sarf to the Izzi, and the 
Lamiyat al-Af 'al of the grammarian Ibn Malik. 

2 First, the well-known " Ajrumiyah " (printed by M. Vaucelle), 
and its commentary, Al-Kafrawi. Thirdly, the Alfiyah (Thousand 
Distichs) of Ibn Malik, written in verse for mnemonic purposes, but 
thereby rendered so difficult as to require the lengthy commentary 
of Al-Ashmumi. The fifth is the well-known work called the Katr 
al-Nida (the Dew Drop), celebrated from Cairo to Kabul ; and last 
of all the " Azhari." 

VI. — The Mosque. 105 

Master of grammar, our student now applies himself 
to its proper end and purpose, Divinity. Of the four 
schools those of Abu Hanifah and Al-Shafe'i are most 
common in Cairo ; the followers of Ibn Malik abound only 
in Southern Egypt and the Berberah country, and the 
Hanbali is almost unknown. The theologian begins with 
what is called a Matn or text, a short, dry, and often ob- 
scure treatise, a mere string of precepts ; in fact, the 
skeleton of the subject. This he learns by repeated per- 
usal, till he can quote almost every passage literatim. He 
then passes to its " Sharh," or commentary, generally the 
work of some other savant, who explains the difficulty of 
the text, amplifies its Laconicisms, enters into exceptional 
cases, and deals with principles and reasons, as well as 
with mere precept. A difficult work will sometimes re- 
quire " Hashiyah," or " marginal notes"; but this aid has 
a bad name : — 

" Who readeth with note, 
But learneth by rote," 

says a popular doggrel. The reason is, that the student's 
reasoning powers being little exercised, he learns to depend 
upon the dixit of a master rather than to think for himself. 
It also leads to the neglect of another practice, highly 
advocated by the Eastern pedagogue. 
" The lecture is one. 
The dispute (upon the subject of the lecture) is one thousand." 

In order to become a Fakih, or divine of distinguished 
fame, the follower of Abu Hanifah must peruse about ten 
volumes, 1 some of huge size, written in a diffuse style; 

1 I know little of the Hanafi school ; but the name of the fol- 
lowing popular works were given to me by men upon whose learning 
I could depend. The book first read is the text, called Marah al-Falah, 
containing about twenty pages, and its commentary, which is about 
six times longer. Then comes the Matn al-Kanz, a brief text of from 
35 to 40 pages, followed by three long Sharh. The shortest of these, 
"Al-Tai," contains 500 pages ; the next, " Mulla Miskin," at least 900; 
and the " Sharh Ayni" nearly 2000. To these succeeds the Text 

106 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the Shafe'i's reading is not quite so extensive. 1 Theo- 
logy is much studied, because it leads directly to the gain- 
ing of daily bread, as priest or tutor ; and other scientific 
pursuits are neglected for the opposite reason. 

The theologian in Egypt, as in other parts of Al- 
Islam, must have a superficial knowledge of the Prophet's 
traditions. Of these there are eight well known collec- 
tions, 2 but only the first three are generally read. 

School-boys are instructed, almost when in their 
infancy, to intone the Koran ; at the university they are 

" Al-Durar," the work of the celebrated Khusraw, (200 pages), with a 
large commentary by the same author ; and last is the Matn Tanwir 
Al-Absar, containing about 500 pages, and its Sharh, a work upwards 
of four times the size. Many of these books may be found — especially 
when the MS. is an old one — with Hashiyah, or marginal notes, but 
most men write them for themselves, so that there is no generally 
used collection. The above-mentioned are the works containing a full 
course of theological study ; it is rare, however, to find a man who 
reads beyond the " Al-Kanz," with the shortest of its commentaries, 
the " Al-Tai." 

1 He begins with a little text called, after the name of its author, 
Abu Shuja'a of Isfahan, and proceeds to its commentary, a book of 
about 250 pages, by Ibn Kasimof Ghazzah (Gaza). There is another 
Sharh, nearly four times larger than this, " Al-Khatib " ; it is seldom 
read. Then comes Al-Tahrir, the work of Zakariya al-Ansari, — a 
celebrated divine buried in the Mosque of Al-Shafe'i, — and its com- 
mentary by the same author, a goodly MS. of 600 pages. Most 
students here cry: "Enough!" The ambitious pass on to Al- 
Minhaj and its commentary, (1600 pages). Nor need they stop at 
this point. A man may addle his brains over Moslem theology, as 
upon Aristotle's schoolmen, till his eyesight fails him — both subjects 
are all but interminable. 

2 The three best known are the Arbain al-Nawawi, and the 
Sahihayn — " the two (universally acknowledged to be) trustworthy," — 
by Al-Muslim and Al-Bokhari, celebrated divines. The others are 
Al-Jami' al-Saghir, " the smaller collection," so called to distinguish 
it from a rarer book, Al-Jami' al-Kabir, the "greater collection"; 
both are the work of Al-Siyuti. The full course concludes with 
Al-Shifa, Shamail, and the labours of Kazi Ayyaz. 

VI. — The Mosque. 107 

taught a more exact system of chanting. The style 
called " Hafs" is most common in Egypt, as it is indeed 
throughout the Moslem world. And after learning to 
read the holy volume, some savans are ambitious enough 
to wish to understand it : under these circumstances they 
must dive into the 'Ilm al-Tafsir, 1 or the Exegesis of 
the Koran. 

Our student is now a perfect Fakih or Mulla. 2 But 

1 Two Tafsirs are known all over the modern world. The 
smaller one is called Jalalani (" the two Jalals," i.e. the joint work of 
Jalal al-Siyuti and Jalal al-Mahalli), and fills two stout volumes 
octavo. The larger is the Exposition of Al-Bayzawi, which is sup- 
posed to contain the whole subject. Some few divines read Al- 

2 To conclude the list of Moslem studies, not purely religious. 

Al-Mantik (or logic) is little valued ; it is read when judged ad- 
visable, after Al-Nahw, from which it flows, and before Ma'ani 
Bayan (rhetoric) to which it leads. In Egypt, students are generally 
directed to fortify their memories, and give themselves a logical turn 
of mind, by application to Al-Jabr (algebra). The only logical works 
known are the Isaghuji (the daraywyr) of Porphyry), Al-Shamsiyah, 
the book Al-Sullam, with its Sharh Al-Akhzari, and, lastly, Kazi 
Mir. Equally neglected are the Tawarikh (history) and the Hikmat 
(or philosophy), once so ardently cultivated by Moslem savans; 
indeed, it is now all but impossible to get books upon these subjects. 
For upwards of six weeks, I ransacked the stalls and the bazar, in 
order to find some one of the multitudinous annals of Al-Hijaz, 
without seeing for sale anything but the fourth volume of a large bio- 
graphical work called al-Akd al-Samin fi Tarikh al-Balad al-Arnin. 

The Tim al-'Aruz, or Prosody, is not among the Arabs, as with 
us, a chapter hung on to the tail of grammar. It is a long and 
difficult study, prosecuted only by those who wish to distinguish 
themselves in " Arabiyat," — the poetry and the eloquence of the 
ancient and modern Arabs. The poems generally studied, with the 
aid of commentaries, which impress every verse upon the memory, 
are the Burdah and the Hamziyah, well-known odes by Mohammed 
of Abusir. They abound in obsolete words, and are useful at 
funerals, as on other solemn occasions. The Banat Su'adi, by Ka'ab 
al-Ahbar (or Akhbar), a companion of the Apostle, and the Diwan 
'Uraar ibn Fariz, a celebrated mystic, are also learned compositions. 
Few attempt the bulky volume of Al-Mutanabbi — though many 

108 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the poor fellow has no scholarship or fellowship — no easy 
tutorship — no fat living to look forward to. After wasting 

place it open upon the sofa, — fewer still the tenebrous compositions 
of Al-Hariri ; nor do the modern Egyptians admire those fragments 
of ancient Arab poets, which seem so sweetly simple to the European 
ear. The change of faith has altered the national taste to such an 
extent, that the decent bard must now sing of woman in the mascu- 
line gender. For which reason, a host of modern poetasters can 
attract the public ear, which is deaf to the voices of the " Golden 

In the exact sciences, the Egyptian Moslems, a backward race 
according to European estimation, are far superior to the Persians 
and the Moslems of India. Some of them become tolerable arith- 
meticians, though very inferior to the Coptic Christians ; they have 
good and simple treatises on algebra, and still display some of their 
ancestors' facility in the acquisition of geometry. The Tim al- 
Mikat, or " Calendar-calculating," was atone time publicly taught 
in the Azhar ; the printing-press has doomed that study to death. 

The natural sciences find but scant favour on the banks of the 
Nile. Astronomy is still astrology, geography a heap of names, and 
natural history a mass of fables. Alchemy, geomancy, and sum- 
moning of fiends, are pet pursuits ; but the former has so bad a name, 
that even amongst friends it is always alluded to as, Tim al-Kaf, — the 
"science of K," so called from the initial letter of the word "Kimiya." 
Of the state of therapeutics I have already treated at length. 

Aided by the finest of ears, and flexible organs of articulation, 
the Egyptian appears to possess many of the elements of a good 
linguist. The stranger wonders to hear a Cairene donkey-boy 
shouting sentences in three or four European dialects, with a pro- 
nunciation as pure as his own. How far this people succeed in 
higher branches of language, my scanty experience does not enable 
me to determine. But even for students of Arabic, nothing can be 
more imperfect than those useful implements, Vocabularies and Dic- 
tionaries. The Cairenes have, it is true, the Ramus of Fayruzabadi, 
but it has never been printed in Egypt ; it is therefore rare, and when 
found, lost pages and clerical errors combined with the intrinsic diffi- 
culty of the style, exemplify the saying of Golius, that the most learned 
Orientalist must act the part of a diviner, before he can perform that 
of interpreter. They have another Lexicon, the Sihah, and an 
abbreviation of the same, the Sihah al-Saghir (or the lesser), both of 
them liable to the same objections as the Ramus. For the benefit 
of the numerous students of Turkish and Persian, short grammars 

VI.— The Mosque. 109 

seven years, or twice seven years, over his studies, and 
reading till his brain is dizzy, his digestion gone, and his 
eyes half blind, he must either starve upon college alms, 
or squat, like my old Shaykh Mohammed, in a druggist's 
shop, or become pedagogue and preacher in some country 
place, on the pay of £8 per annum. With such prospects 
it is wonderful how the Azhar can present any attrac- 
tions ; but the southern man is essentially an idler, and 
many become Olema, like Capuchins, in order to do no- 
thing. A favoured few rise to the degree of Mudarris 
(professors), and thence emerge Kazis and Muftis. This 
is another inducement to matriculate; every undergraduate 
having an eye upon the Kazi-ship, with as much chance 
of obtaining it as the country pavocco has of becoming a 
cardinal. Others again devote themselves to laical pur- 
suits, degenerate into Wakils (lawyers), or seek their for- 
tunes as Katibs — public or private accountants. 

To conclude this part of the subject, I cannot agree 
with Dr. Bowring when he harshly says, upon the subject 
of Moslem education : " The instruction given by the 
Doctors of the Law in the religious schools, for the forma- 
tion of the Mohammedan priesthood, is of the most 
worthless character." 1 His opinion is equally open to 

and vocabularies have been printed at a cheap price, but the former 
are upon the model of Arabic, a language essentially different in 
formation, and the latter are mere strings of words. 

As a specimen of the state of periodical literature, I may quote 
the history of the " Bulak Independent," as Europeans facetiously 
call it. When Mohammed Ali, determining to have an " organ," 
directed an officer to be editor of a weekly paper, the officer replied, 
that no one would read it, and consequently that no one would pay 
for it. The Pasha remedied this by an order that a subscription 
should be struck off from the pay of all employes, European and 
Egyptian, whose salary amounted to a certain sum. Upon which 
the editor accepted the task, but being paid before his work was 
published, he of course never supplied his subscribers with their 

1 Would not a superficial, hasty, and somewhat prejudiced 

no Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

objection with that of those who depreciate the law itself 
because it deals rather in precepts than in principle, in 
ceremonies and ordinances rather than in ethics and 
aesthetics. Both are what Eastern faiths and Eastern 
training have ever been, — both are eminently adapted for 
the Oriental mind. When the people learn to appreciate 
ethics, and to understand psychics and aesthetics, the 
demand will create a supply. Meanwhile they leave 
transcendentalism to their poets and philosophers, and 
they busy themselves with preparing for heaven by 
practising the only part of their faith now intelligible 
to them — the Material. 

It is not to be supposed that a nation in this stage of 
civilisation could be so fervently devout as the Egyptians 
are, without the bad leaven of bigotry. The same tongue 
which is employed in blessing Allah, is, it is conceived, 
doing its work equally well in cursing Allah's enemies. 
Wherefore the Kafir is denounced by every sex, age, 
class, and condition, by the man of the world, 1 as by the 
boy at school ; and out of, as well as in, the Mosque. If 
you ask your friend who is the person with a black tur- 
band, he replies, 

" A Christian. Allah make his Countenance cold !" 
If you inquire of your servant, who are the people 
singing in the next house, it is ten to one that his answer 
will be, 

" Jews. May their lot be Jahannam !" 
It appears unintelligible, still it is not less true, that 
Egyptians who have lived as servants under European 
roofs for years, retain the liveliest loathing for the manners 

Egyptian or Persian say exactly the same thing about the systems 
of Christ Church and Trinity College ? 

i And when the man of the world, as sometimes happens, pro- 
fesses to see no difference in the forms of faith, or whispers that his 
residence in Europe has made him friendly to the Christian religion, 
you will be justified in concluding his opinions to be latitudinarian. 

VI. — The Mosque. in 

and customs of their masters. Few Franks, save those 
who have mixed with the Egyptians in Oriental disguise, 
are aware of their repugnance to, and contempt for, 
Europeans — so well is the feeling veiled under the garb of 
innate politeness, and so great is their reserve when con- 
versing with those of strange religions. I had a good 
opportunity of ascertaining the truth when the first rumour 
of a Russian war arose. Almost every able-bodied man 
spoke of hastening to the Jihad,— a crusade, or holy war, — 
and the only thing that looked like apprehension was the 
too eager depreciation of their foes. All seemed delighted 
with the idea of French co-operation, for, somehow or 
other, the Frenchman is everywhere popular. When 
speaking of England, they were not equally easy : heads 
were rolled, pious sentences were ejaculated, and finally out 
came the old Eastern cry, "Of a truth they are Shaytans, 
those English. 1 " The Austrians are despised, because 
the East knows nothing of them since the days when Os- 
manli hosts threatened the gates of Vienna. The Greeks 
are hated as clever scoundrels, ever ready to do Al- Islam 
a mischief. The Maltese, the greatest of cowards off their 
own ground, are regarded with a profound contempt : 
these are the proteges which bring the British nation 
into disrepute at Cairo. And Italians are known chiefly 
as " istvuttori" and " distruttori"* — doctors, druggists, and 

Yet Egyptian human nature is, like human nature 
everywhere, contradictory. Hating and despising Euro- 
peans, they still long for European rule. This people ad- 

i I know only one class in Egypt favourable to the English, — the 
donkey boys, — and they found our claim to the possession of the 
country upon a base scarcely admissible by those skilled in casuistry, 
namely, that we hire more asses than any other nation. 

2 The story is, that Mohammed Ali used to offer his flocks of 
foreigners their choice of two professions, — " destruction," that is to 
say, physic, or "instruction." 

ii2 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

mire an iron-handed and lion-hearted despotism ; they 
hate a timid and a grinding tyranny. 1 Of all foreigners, 
they would prefer the French yoke, — a circumstance which 
I attribute to the diplomatic skill and national dignity of 
our neighbours across the Channel. 2 But whatever 
European nation secures Egypt will win a treasure. 
Moated on the north and south by seas, with a glacis of 
impassable deserts to the eastward and westward, cap- 
able of supporting an army of 180,000 men, of paying a 

1 Of this instances abound. Lately an order was issued to tax 
the villages of the Badawin settled upon the edge of the Western 
desert, who, even in Mohammed Ali's time, were allowed to live free 
of assessment. The Aulad 'Ali, inhabitants of a little village near 
the Pyramids, refused to pay, and turned out with their matchlocks, 
defying the Pasha. The government then insisted upon their leaving 
their houses, and living under hair-cloth like Badawin, since they 
claimed the privileges of Badawin. The sturdy fellows at once 
pitched their tents, and when I returned to Cairo (in December, 1853), 
they had deserted their village. I could offer a score of such cases, 
proving the present debased condition of Egypt. 

2 At Constantinople the French were the first to break through 
the shameful degradation to which the ambassadors of infidel powers 
were bribed, by 300 or 400 rations a day, to submit. M. de Saint 
Priest refused to give up his sword. General Sebastiani insisted upon 
wearing his military boots ; and the Republican Aubert Dubajet 
rejected the dinner, and the rich dress, with which " the naked and 
hungry barbarian who ventured to rub his brow upon the Sublime 
Porte," was fed and clothed before being admitted to the presence, 
saying that the ambassadors of France wanted neither this nor that. 
At Cairo, M. Sabatier, the French Consul-general, has had the merit 
of doing away with some customs prejudicial to the dignity of his 
nation. The next English envoy will, if anxious so to distinguish 
himself, have an excellent opportunity, it is~ usual, after the first 
audience, for the Pasha to send, in token of honour, a sorry steed to 
the new comer. This custom is a mere relic of the days when 
Mohammed the Second threatened to stable his charger in St. Peter's, 
and when a ride through the streets of Cairo exposed the Inspector- 
general Tott, and his suite, to lapidation and an " avanie." To send a 
good horse is to imply degradation, but to offer a bad one is a posi- 
tive insult. 

VI. — The Mosque. 113 

heavy tribute, and yet able to show a considerable sur- 
plus of revenue, this country in western hands will com- 
mand India, and by a ship-canal between Pelusium and 
Suez would open the whole of Eastern Africa. 1 

There is no longer much to fear from the fanaticism 
of the people, and a little prudence would suffice to com- 
mand the interests of the Mosque. 2 The chiefs of corpora- 
tions, 3 in the present state of popular feeling, would offer 

1 As this canal has become a question of national interest, its 
advisability is surrounded with all the circumstance of unsupported 
assertion and bold denial. The English want a railroad, which would 
confine the use of Egypt to themselves. The French desire a canal 
that would admit the hardy cruisers of the Mediterranean into the 
Red Sea. The cosmopolite will hope that both projects may be 
carried out. Even in the seventh century Omar forbade Amru to cut 
the Isthmus of Suez for fear of opening Arabia to Christian vessels. 
As regards the feasibility of the ship-canal, I heard M. Linant de 
Bellefonds — the best authority upon all such subjects in Egypt — ex- 
pressly assert, after levelling and surveying the line, that he should 
have no difficulty in making it. The canal is now a fact. As late 
as April, 1864, Lord Palmerston informed the House of Commons 
that labourers might be more usefully employed in cultivating cotton 
than in " digging a canal through a sandy desert, and in making two 
harbours in deep mud and shallow water." It is, however, under- 
stood that the Premier was the only one of his Cabinet who took 
this view. Mr. Robert Stephenson, C.E., certainly regretted before 
his death the opinion which he had been induced to express by 

2 There are at present about eighteen influential Shaykhs at 
Cairo, too fanatic to listen to reason. These it would be necessary to 
banish. Good information about what goes on in each Mosque, espec- 
ially on Fridays, when the priests preach to the people, and a guard 
of honour placed at the gates of the Kazi, the three Muftis, and the 
Shaykh of the Azhar, are simple precautions sufficient to keep the 
Olema in order. 

3 These Rakaiz Al-'Usab, as they are called, are the most influen- 
tial part of the immense mass of dark intrigue which Cairo, like 
most Oriental cities, conceals beneath the light surface. They gene- 
rally appear in the ostensible state of barbers and dyers. Secretly, 
they preside over their different factions, and form a kind of small 
VOL. I. 8 

U4 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

even less difficulty to an invader or a foreign ruler than 
the Olema. Briefly, Egypt is the most tempting prize 
which the East holds out to the ambition of Europe, not 
excepted even the Golden Horn. 

Vehm. The French used to pay these men, but Napoleon, detecting 
them in stirring up the people, whilst appearing to maintain public 
tranquillity, shot eighteen or twenty (about half their number), and 
thereby improved the conduct of the rest. They are to be managed, 
as Sir Charles Napier governed Sind, — by keeping a watchful eye 
upon them, a free administration of military law, disarming the popu- 
lation, and forbidding large bodies of men to assemble. 




At length the slow "month of blessings" passed 
away. We rejoiced like Romans finishing their Quar- 
esima, when a salvo of artillery from the citadel announced 
the end of our Lenten woes. On the last day of Ramazan 
all gave alms to the poor, at the rate of a piastre and a 
half for each member of the household — slave, servant, 
and master. The next day, first of the three composing the 
Bayram or Id 1 (the Lesser Festival), we arose before dawn, 
performed our ablutions, and repaired to the Mosque, 
to recite the peculiar prayer of the season, and to hear 
the sermon which bade us be "merry and wise." After 
which we ate and drank heartily ; then, with pipes and 
tobacco-pouches in hand, we sauntered out to enjoy the 
contemplation of smiling faces and street scenery. 

The favourite resort on this occasion is the large 
cemetery beyond the Bab al-Nasr 2 — that stern, old, 
massive gateway which opens upon the Suez road. 
There we found a scene of jollity. Tents and ambulant 
coffee-houses were full of men equipped in their — anglice 

i Festival. It lasts the three first days of Shawwal, the month 
immediately following Ramazan, and therefore, among Moslems, cor- 
responds with our Paschal holidays, which succeed Lent. It is 
called the " Lesser Festival," the " Greater " being in Zu'l Hijjah, 
the pilgrimage-month. 

2 In Chap. V. of this Volume, I have mentioned this cemetery 
as Burckhardt's last resting-place. 

n6 Pilgrimage to Al-Madimh and Meccah. 

— " Sunday best," listening to singers and musicians, 
smoking, chatting, and looking at jugglers, buffoons, 
snake-charmers, Darwayshes, ape-leaders, and dancing 
boys habited in women's attire. Eating-stalls and lolli- 
pop-shops, booths full of playthings, and sheds for 
lemonade and syrups, lined the roads, and disputed with 
swings and merry-go-rounds the regards of the little 
Moslems and Moslemahs. The chief item of the crowd, 
fair Cairenes, carried in their hands huge palm branches, 
intending to ornament therewith the tombs of parents 
and friends. Yet, even on this solemn occasion, there is, 
they say, not a little flirtation and love-making ; parties 
of policemen are posted, with orders to interrupt all such 
irregularities, with a long cane ; but their vigilance is 
notoriously unequal to the task. I could not help ob- 
serving that frequent pairs, doubtless cousins or other 
relations, wandered to unusual distances among the 
sand-hills, and that sometimes the confusion of a dis- 
tant bastinado struck the ear. These trifles did not, 
however, by any means interfere with the general joy. 
Every one wore something new ; most people were in 
the fresh suits of finery intended to last through the 
year ; and so strong is personal vanity in the breasts of 
Orientals, men and women, young and old, that from 
Cairo to Calcutta it would be difficult to find a sad heart 
under a handsome coat. The men swaggered, the women 
minced their steps, rolled their eyes, and were eternally 
arranging, and coquetting with their head-veils. The 
little boys strutting about foully abused any one of their 
number who might have a richer suit than his neigh- 
bours. And the little girls ogled every one in the ecstacy 
of conceit, and glanced contemptuously at other little 
girls their rivals. 

Weary of the country, the Haji and I wandered about 
the city, paying visits, which at this time are like new- 
year calls in continental Europe. I can describe the 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 117 

operation of calling in Egypt only as the discussion of 
pipes and coffee in one place, and of coffee and pipes 
in another. But on this occasion, whenever we meet 
a friend we throw ourselves upon each other's breast, 
placing right arms over left shoulders, and vice versa, 
squeezing like wrestlers, with intermittent hugs, then 
laying cheek to cheek delicately, at the same time making 
the loud noise of many kisses in the air. 1 The com- 
pliment of the season is, " Kull'am antum bil khayr " 
— " Every year may you be well ! " — in fact, our " Many 
happy returns of the day ! " After this come abundant 
good wishes, and kindly prophecies ; and from a " religious 
person " a blessing, and a short prayer. To complete 
the resemblance between a Moslem and a Christian 
festival, we have dishes of the day, fish, Shurayk, the 
cross-bun, and a peculiarly indigestible cake, called in 
Egypt Kahk,' 2 the plum-pudding of Al- Islam. 

This year's Id was made gloomy, comparatively speak- 
ing, by the state of politics. Report of war with Russia, 
with France, with England, who was going to land 
three million men at Suez, and with Infideldom in general, 
rang through Egypt, and the city of Mars 8 became un- 
usually martial. The government armouries, arsenals, 
and manufactories, were crowded with kidnapped work- 
men. Those who purposed a pilgrimage feared forcible 
detention. Wherever men gathered together, in the 
Mosques, for instance, or the coffee-houses, the police 

1 You are bound also to meet even your enemies in the most 
friendly way — for which mortification you afterwards hate them more 
cordially than before. 

2 Persian. 

3 With due deference to the many of a different opinion, I believe 
" Kahirah" (corrupted through the Italian into Cairo) to mean, not 
the "victorious," but the "City of Kahir," or Mars the Planet. It 
was so called because, as Richardson has informed the world, it was 
founded in a.d. 968 by one Jauhar, a Dalmatian renegade before 
mentioned, when the warlike planet was in the ascendant. 

n8 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

closed the doors, and made forcible capture of the able- 
bodied. This proceeding, almost as barbarous as our 
impressment law, filled the main streets with detach- 
ments of squalid-looking wretches, marching to be made 
soldiers, with collars round their necks and irons on their 
wrists. The dismal impression of the scene was deepened 
by crowds of women, who, habited in mourning, and scat- 
tering dust and mud over their rent garments, followed 
their sons, brothers, and husbands, with cries and shrieks. 
The death-wail is a peculiar way of cheering on the 
patriot departing pro patria mori, and the origin of the 
custom is characteristic of the people. The principal 
public amusements allowed to Oriental women are those 
that come under the general name of " Fantasia," — 
birth-feasts, marriage festivals, and funerals. And the 
early campaigns of Mohammed Ali's family in Syria, 
and Al-Hijaz having, in many cases, deprived the be- 
reaved of their sex-right to " keen " for the dead, they have 
now determined not to waste the opportunity, but to 
revel in the luxury of woe at the live man's wake. 1 

Another cloud hung over Cairo. Rumours of con- 
spiracy were afloat. The jews and Christians, — here as 
ready to take alarm as the English in Italy, — trembled at 
the fancied preparations for insurrection, massacre, and 
plunder. And even the Moslems whispered that some 
hundred desperadoes had resolved to fire the city, be- 
ginning with the bankers' quarter, and to spoil the wealthy 
Egyptians. Of course H.H. Abbas Pasha was absent 
at the time, and, even had he been at Cairo, his presence 
would have been of little use : the ruler can do nothing 

i " There were no weeping women ; no neighbours came in to sit 
down in the ashes, as they might have done had the soldier died at 
home ; there was no Nubian dance for the dead, no Egyptian song of 
the women lauding the memory of the deceased, and beseeching him 
to tell why he had left them alone in the world to weep." — (Letter 
from Widdin, March 25, 1854, describing a Turkish soldier's funeral.) 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 119 

towards restoring confidence to a panic-stricken Oriental 

At the end of the Id, as a counter-irritant to political 
excitement, the police magistrates began to bully the 
people. There is a standing order in the chief cities of 
Egypt, that all who stir abroad after dark without a 
lantern shall pass the night in the station-house. 1 But 
at Cairo, in certain quarters, the Azbakiyah 2 for instance, 
a little laxity is usually allowed. Before I left the capital 
the licence was withdrawn, and the sudden strictness 
caused many ludicrous scenes. 

If by chance you (clad in Oriental garb) had sent on 
your lantern to a friend's house by your servant, and had 
leisurely followed it five minutes after the hour of eight, 
you were sure to be met, stopped, collared, questioned, 
and captured by the patrol. You probably punched three 
or four of them, but found the dozen too strong for you. 
Held tightly by the sleeves, skirts, and collar of your 
wide outer garment, you were hurried away on a plane 
of about nine inches above the ground, your feet mostly 
treading the air. You were dragged along with a rapidity 
which scarcely permitted you to answer strings of ques- 
tions concerning your name, nation, dwelling, faith, pro- 
fession, and self in general, — especially concerning the 
present state of your purse. If you lent an ear to the 
voice of the charmer that began by asking a crown to 
release you, and gradually came down to two-pence half- 
penny, you fell into a simple trap ; the butt-end of a 
musket applied a posteriori, immediately after the transfer 
of property, convicted you of wilful waste. But if, more 
sensibly, you pretended to have forgotten your purse, you 

1 Captain Haines wisely introduced the custom into Aden. I 
wonder that it is not made universal in the cities of India, where so 
much iniquity is perpetrated under the shadow of night. 

2 The reason being that respectable Europeans, and the passengers 
by the Overland Mail, live and lodge in this quarter. 

120 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

were reviled, and dragged with increased violence of 
shaking to the office of the Zabit, or police magistrate. 
You were spun through the large archway leading to the 
court, every fellow in uniform giving you, as you passed, a 
Kafa, " cuff," on the back of the neck. Despite your rage, 
you were forced up the stairs to a long gallery full of people 
in a predicament like your own. Again your name, na- 
tion, — I suppose you to be masquerading, — offence, and 
other particulars were asked, and carefully noted in a folio 
by a ferocious-looking clerk. If you knew no better, you 
were summarily thrust into the Hasil or condemned cell, 
to pass the night with pickpockets or ruffians, pell-mell. 
But if an adept in such matters, you insisted upon being 
conducted before the " Pasha of the Night," and, the 
clerk fearing to refuse, you were hurried to the great 
man's office, hoping for justice, and dealing out ideal 
vengeance to your captors, — the patrol. Here you found 
the dignitary sitting with pen, ink, and paper before him, 
and pipe and coffee-cup in hand, upon a wide Diwan of 
dingy chintz, in a large dimly-lit room, with two guards 
by his side, and a semi-circle of recent seizures vocif- 
erating before him. When your turn came, you were 
carefully collared, and led up to the presence, as if even 
at that awful moment you were mutinously and murder- 
ously disposed. The Pasha, looking at you with a vicious 
sneer, turned up his nose, ejaculated " 'Ajami," and pre- 
scribed the bastinado. You observed that the mere fact 
of being a Persian did not give mankind a right to cap- 
ture, imprison, and punish you ; you declared moreover 
that you were no Persian, but an Indian under British 
protection. The Pasha, a man accustomed to obedience, 
then stared at you, to frighten you, and you, we will 
suppose, stared at him, till, with an oath, he turned to 
the patrol, and asked them your offence. They all simul- 
taneously swore — by x\llah ! — that you had been found 
without a lantern, dead-drunk, beating respectable people, 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 121 

breaking into houses, invading and robbing harims. 
You openly told the Pasha that they were eating abomina- 
tions ; upon which he directed one of his guards to smell 
your breath, — the charge of drunkenness being tangible. 
The fellow, a comrade of your capturers, advanced his 
nose to your lips ; as might be expected, cried " Kikh," 
contorted his countenance, and answered, by the beard 
of " Effendina 1 " that he perceived a pestilent odour of 
distilled waters. This announcement probably elicited a 
grim grin from the " Pasha of the Night," who loves 
Curacoa, and who is not indifferent to the charms of 
Cognac. Then by his favour, for you improved the occa- 
sion, you were allowed to spend the hours of darkness on 
a wooden bench, in the adjacent long gallery, together 
with certain little parasites, for which polite language has 
no name. 2 In the morning the janissary of your Consulate 
was sent for : he came, and claimed you ; you were led 
off criminally ; again you gave your name and address, 
and if your offence was merely sending on your lantern, 
you were dismissed with advice to be more careful in 
future. And assuredly your first step was towards the 

But if, on the other hand, you had declared yourself 
a European, you would either have been dismissed at 
once, or sent to your Consul, who is here judge, jury, and 
jailor. Egyptian authority has of late years lost half its 
prestige. When Mr. Lane first settled at Cairo, all 
Europeans accused of aggression against Moslems were, 
he tells us, surrendered to the Turkish magistrates. Now, 
the native powers have no jurisdiction over strangers, 

1 " Our lord," i.e. H.H. the Pasha. " Kikh" is an interjection 
noting disapproval, or disgust, — " Fie ! " or " Ugh ! " 

2 Shortly after the Ramazan of 1853, the Consul, I am told, 
obtained an order that British subjects should be sent directly from 
the police office, at all hours of the night, to the Consulate. This was 
a most sensible measure. 

122 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

nor can the police enter their houses. If the West would 
raise the character of its Eastern co-religionists, it will 
be forced to push the system a point further, and to allow 
all bond-fide Christian subjects to register their names at 
the different Consulates whose protection they might 
prefer. This is what Russia has so " unwarrantably and 
outrageously " attempted. We confine ourselves to a 
lesser injustice, which deprives Eastern states of their 
right as independent Powers to arrest, and to judge 
foreigners, who for interest or convenience settle in their 
dominions. But we still shudder at the right of arrogating 
any such claim over the born lieges of Oriental Powers. 
What, however, would be the result were Great Britain to 
authorise her sons resident at Paris, or Florence, to refuse 
attendance at a French or an Italian court of justice, and 
to demand that the police should never force the doors of 
an English subject ? I commend this consideration to all 
those who " stickle for abstract rights " when the interest 
and progress of others are concerned, and who become 
somewhat latitudinarian and concrete in cases where 
their own welfare and aggrandisement are at stake. 

Besides patients, I made some pleasant acquaint- 
ances at Cairo. Antun Zananire, a young Syrian of 
considerable attainments as a linguist, paid me the com- 
pliment of permitting me to see the fair face of his 
" Harim." Mr. Hatchadur Nury, an Armenian gentle- 
man, well known in Bombay, amongst other acts of kind- 
ness, introduced me to one of his compatriots, Khwajah 
Yusuf, whose advice was most useful to me. The Khwajah 
had wandered far and wide, picking up everywhere 
some scrap of strange knowledge, and his history was a 
romance. Expelled from Cairo for a youthful peccadillo, 
he started upon his travels, qualified himself for sanctity 
at Meccah and Al-Madinah, became a religious beggar 
at Baghdad, studied French at Paris, and finally settled 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 123 

down as a professor of languages, 1 under an amnesty, at 
Cairo. In his house I saw an Armenian marriage. The 
occasion was memorable : after the gloom and same- 
ness of Moslem society, nothing could be more glad- 
dening than the unveiled face of a pretty woman. Some 
of the guests were undeniably charming brunettes, with 
the blackest possible locks, and the brightest conceivable 
eyes. Only one pretty girl wore the national costume ; 2 
yet they all smoked chibuks and sat upon the Diwans, 
and, as they entered the room, they kissed with a sweet 
simplicity the hands of the priest, and of the other old 
gentlemen present. 

Among the number of my acquaintances was a 
Meccan boy, Mohammed al-Basyuni, from whom 1 bought 
the pilgrim-garb called "Al-Ihram" and the Kafan or 
shroud, with which the Moslem usually starts upon such 
a journey as mine. He, being in his way homewards 
after a visit to Constantinople, was most anxious to 
accompany me in the character of a " companion." 
But he had travelled too much to suit me ; he had visited 
India, he had seen Englishmen, and he had lived with the 
" Nawab Balu " of Surat. Moreover, he showed signs 
of over-wisdom. He had been a regular visitor, till I 
cured one of his friends of an ophthalmia, after which 

1 Most Eastern nations, owing to their fine ear for sounds, are 
quick at picking up languages ; but the Armenian is here, what the 
Russian is in the West, the facile princeps of conversational linguists. 
I have frequently heard them speak with the purest accent, and 
admirable phraseology, besides their mother tongue, Turkish, Arabic, 
Persian, and Hindustani, nor do they evince less aptitude for 
acquiring the Occidental languages. 

2 It has been too frequently treated of, to leave room for a fresh 
description. Though pretty and picturesque, it is open to the re- 
proach of Moslem dressing, namely, that the in-door toilette admits 
of a display of bust, and is generally so scanty and flimsy that it is 
unfit to meet the eye of a stranger. This, probably the effect of 
secluding women, has now become a cause for concealing them. 

124 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

he gave me his address at Meccah, and was seen no 
more. Haji Wali described him and his party to be 
" Nas jarrar " (extractors), and certainly he had not 
misjudged them. But the sequel will prove how der 
Mensch denkt und Gott lenkt ; and as the boy, Mo- 
hammed, eventually did become my companion throughout 
the Pilgrimage, I will place him before the reader as 
summarily as possible. 

He is a beardless youth, of about eighteen, choco- 
late-brown, with high features, and a bold profile ; his 
bony and decided Meccan cast of face is lit up by the 
peculiar Egyptian eye, which seems to descend from 
generation to generation. 1 His figure is short and 
broad, with a tendency to be obese, the result of a strong 
stomach and the power of sleeping at discretion. He 
can read a little, write his name, and is uncommonly 
clever at a bargain. Meccah had taught him to speak 
excellent Arabic, to understand the literary dialect, to be 
eloquent in abuse, and to be profound at Prayer and 
Pilgrimage. Constantinople had given him a taste for 
Anacreontic singing, and female society of the question- 
able kind, a love of strong waters, — the hypocrite looked 
positively scandalised when I first suggested the subject, 
— and an off-hand latitudinarian mode of dealing with 
serious subjects in general. I found him to be the 
youngest son of a widow, whose doting fondness had 
moulded his disposition ; he was selfish and affectionate, 
as spoiled children usually are, volatile, easily offended 
and as easily pacified (the Oriental), coveting other men's 
goods, and profuse of his own (the Arab), with a match- 
less intrepidity of countenance (the traveller), brazen 
lunged, not more than half brave, exceedingly astute, 
with an acute sense of honour, especially where his 

i He was from the banks of the Nile, as his cognomen, al- 
Basyuni proves, but his family, I was told, had been settled for three 
or four generations at Meccah. 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 125 

relations were concerned (the individual). I have 
seen him in a fit of fury because some one cursed his 
father ; and he and I nearly parted because on one oc- 
casion I applied to him an epithet which, etymologically 
considered, might be exceedingly insulting to a high- 
minded brother, but which in popular parlance signifies 
nothing. This "point d'honnenr "was the boy Mohammed's 
strong point. 

During the Ramazan I laid in my stores for the 
journey. These consisted of tea, coffee, loaf-sugar, rice, 
dates, biscuit, oil, vinegar, tobacco, lanterns, and cooking 
pots, a small bell-shaped tent, costing twelve shillings, 
and three water-skins for the Desert. 1 The provisions 
were placed in a " Kafas " or hamper artistically made of 
palm sticks, and in a huge Sahharah, or wooden box, 
about three feet each way, covered with leather or skin, 
and provided with a small lid fitting into the top. 2 The 

1 Almost all the articles of food were so far useful, that they 
served every one of the party at least as much as they did their owner. 
My friends drank my coffee, smoked my tobacco, and ate my rice. I 
bought better tea at Meccah than at Cairo, and found as good sugar 
there. It would have been wiser to lay in a small stock merely for 
the voyage to Yambu', in which case there might have been more 
economy. But I followed the advice of those interested in setting 
me wrong. Turks and Egyptians always go pilgrimaging with a large 
outfit, as notably as the East-Indian cadet of the present day, and 
your outfitter at Cairo, as well as Cornhill, is sure to supply you with 
a variety of superfluities. The tent was useful to me ; so were the 
water-skins, which I preferred to barrels, as being more portable, and 
less liable to leak. Good skins cost about a dollar each ; they should 
be bought new, and always kept half full of water. 

2 This shape secures the lid, which otherwise, on account of the 
weight of the box, would infallibly be torn off, or burst open. Like 
the Kafas, the Sahharah should be well padlocked, and if the owner 
be a saving man, he does not entrust his keys to a servant. I gave 
away my Kafas at Yambu', because it had been crushed during the 
sea-voyage, and I was obliged to leave the Sahharah at Al-Madinah, 
as my Badawi camel-shaykh positively refused to carry it to Meccah, 
so that both these articles were well nigh useless to me. The Kafas 

126 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

former, together with my green box containing medicines, 
and saddle-bags full of clothes, hung on one side of the 
camel, a counterpoise to the big Sahharah on the other 
flank ; the Badawin, like muleteers, always requiring a 
balance of weight. On the top of the load was placed trans- 
versely a Shibriyah or cot, on which Shaykh Nur squatted 
like a large crow. This worthy had strutted out into the 
streets armed with a pair of horse-pistols and a sword 
almost as long as himself. No sooner did the mischievous 
boys of Cairo — they are as bad as the gamins of Paris 
and London — catch sight of him than they began to 
scream with laughter at the sight of the " Hindi (Indian) 
in arms," till, like a vagrant owl pursued by a flight of 
larks, he ran back into the Caravanserai. 

Having spent all my ready money at Cairo, I was 
obliged to renew the supply. My native acquaintances 
advised me to take at least eighty pounds sterling, and 
considering the expense of outfit for Desert travelling, 
the sum did not appear excessive. I should have found 
some difficulty in raising the money had it not been for 
the kindness of a friend at Alexandria, John Thurburn, 
now, I regret to say, no more, and Mr. Sam Shepheard, 
then of Shepheard's Hotel, Cairo, presently a landed 
proprietor near Rugby, and now also gone. My Indians 
scrutinised the diminutive square of paper l — the 

cost four shillings, and the Sahharah about twelve. When these large 
boxes are really strong and good, they are worth about a pound ster- 
ling each. 

i At my final interview with the committee of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society, one member, Sir Woodbine Parish, advised an 
order to be made out on the Society's bankers ; another, Sir Roderick 
Murchison, kindly offered to give me one on his own, Coutts & Co. ; 
but I, having more experience in Oriental travelling, begged only to 
be furnished with a diminutive piece of paper, permitting me to draw 
upon the Society. It was at once given by Dr. Shaw, the Secretary, 
and it proved of much use eventually. It was purposely made as small 
as possible, in order to fit into a talisman case. But the traveller must 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 127 

letter of credit — as a raven may sometimes be seen 
peering, with head askance, into the interior of a suspected 
marrow-bone. " Can this be a bond-fide draft ?" they 
mentally inquired. And finally they offered, politely, to 
write to England for me, to draw the money, and to for- 
ward it in a sealed bag directed " Al-Madinah." I need 
scarcely say that such a style of transmission would, in 
the case of precious metals, have left no possible chance 
of its safe arrival. When the difficulty was overcome, I 
bought fifty pounds' worth of German dollars (Maria 
Theresas), and invested the rest in English and Turkish 
sovereigns. 1 The gold I myself carried ; part of the 
silver I sewed up in Shaykh Nur's leather waistbelt, and 
part was packed in the boxes, for this reason, — when 
Badawin begin plundering a respectable man, if they find 
a certain amount of ready money in his baggage, they do 
not search his person. If they find none they proceed to a 
bodily inspection, and if his waist-belt be empty they 
are rather disposed to rip open his stomach, in the 
belief that he must have some peculiarly ingenious way 
of secreting valuables. Having passed through this 
trouble I immediately fell into another. My hardly- 
earned Alexandrian passport required a double visa, one 
at the Police office, the other at the Consul's. After return- 
ing to Egypt, I found it was the practice of travellers 

bear in mind, that if his letters of credit be addressed to Orientals, 
the sheet of paper should always be large, and grand-looking. These 
people have no faith in notes, — commercial, epistolary, or diplomatic. 
1 Before leaving Cairo, I bought English sovereigns for 112, and 
sold them in Arabia for 122 piastres "Abu Takahs," (pataks, or 
Spanish pillar-dollars), as they are called in Al-Hijaz, cost me 24 
piastres, and in the Holy City were worth 28. The " Sinku " (French 
five franc piece) is bought for 22 piastres in Egypt, and sells at 24 in 
Arabia. The silver Majidi costs 20 at Cairo, and is worth 22 in the 
Red Sea, and finally I gained 3 piastres upon the gold " Ghazi " of 
19. Such was the rate of exchange in 1853. It varies, however, 
perpetually, and in 1863 may be totally different. 

128 Pilgrimage to Al-Madimh and Meccah. 

who required any civility from Dr. Walne, then the Eng- 
lish official at Cairo, to enter the " Presence " furnished 
with an order from the Foreign Office. 

I had neglected the precaution, and had ample 
reason to regret having done so. Failing at the British 
Consulate, and unwilling to leave Cairo without being 
" en regie" — the Egyptians warned me that Suez was a 
place of obstacles to pilgrims, 1 — I was obliged to look 
elsewhere for protection. My friend Haji Wali was the 
first consulted ; after a long discussion he offered to take 
me to his Consul, the Persian, and to find out for what 
sum I could become a temporary subject of the Shah. 
We went to the sign of the " Lion and the Sun," and we 
found the dragoman, 2 a subtle Syrian Christian, who, 

i The reason of this will be explained in a future chapter. 

2 The Consular dragoman is one of the greatest abuses I know. 
The tribe is, for the most part, Levantine and Christian, and its con- 
nections are extensive. The father will perhaps be interpreter to 
the English, the son to the French Consulate. By this means the 
most privy affairs will become known to every member of the depart- 
ment, except the head, and eventually to that best of spy-trainers, 
the Turkish government. This explains how a subordinate, whose 
pay is £200 per annum, and who spends double that sum, can 
afford, after twelve or thirteen years' service, to purchase a house 
for ^2,000 and to furnish it for as much more. Besides which, the 
condition, the ideas, and the very nature of these dragomans are 
completely Oriental. The most timid and cringing of men, they dare 
not take the proper tone with a government to which, in case of the 
expulsion of a Consul, they and their families would become subject. 
And their prepossessions are utterly Oriental. Hanna Massara, 
dragoman to the Consul-General at Cairo, in my presence and before 
others, advocated the secret murder of a Moslem girl who had fled 
with a Greek, on the grounds that an adulteress must always be put 
to death, either publicly or under the rose. Yet this man is an " old 
and tried servant " of the State. Such evils might be in part miti- 
gated by employing English youths, of whom an ample supply, if 
there were any demand, would soon be forthcoming. This measure 
has been advocated by the best authorities, but without success. 
Most probably, the reason of the neglect is the difficulty how to 
begin, or where to end, the Augean labour of Consular reform. 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 129 

after a rigid inquiry into the state of my purse (my 
country was no consideration at all 1 ), introduced me to 
the Great Man. I have described this personage once 
already, and he merits not a second notice. The inter- 
view was truly ludicrous. He treated us with exceed- 
ing hauteur, motioned me to sit almost out of hearing, 
and after rolling his head in profound silence for nearly 
a quarter of an hour, vouchsafed the information that 
though my father might be a Shirazi, and my mother an 
Afghan, he had not the honour of my acquaintance. 
His companion, a large old Persian with Polyphemean 
eyebrows and a mulberry beard, put some gruff and dis- 
couraging questions. I quoted the verses 
" He is a man who benefits his fellow men, 
Not he who says ' why ? ' and ' wherefore ? ' and ' how much ? ' " 
upon which an imperious wave of the arm directed me to 
return to the dragoman, who had the effrontery to ask 
me four pounds sterling for a Persian passport. I offered 
one. He derided my offer, and I went away perplexed. 
On my return to Cairo some months afterwards, he sent 
,to say that had he known me as an Englishman, I should 
have had the document gratis, — a civility for which he 
was duly thanked. 

At last my Shaykh Mohammed hit upon the plan. 
" Thou art," said he, " an Afghan ; I will fetch hither the 
principal of the Afghan college at the Azhar, and he, if 

1 In a previous chapter I have alluded to the species of protec- 
tion formerly common in the East. Europe, it is to be feared, is not 
yet immaculate in this respect, and men say that were a list of 
" protected " furnished by the different Consulates at Cairo, it would 
be a curious document. As no one, Egyptian or foreigner, would, if 
he could possibly help it, be subject to the Egyptian government, 
large sums might be raised by the simple process of naturalising 
strangers. At the Persian Consulate no dollars — the century for the 
Consul, and the decade for his dragoman — have been paid for pro- 
tection. A stern fact this for those who advocate the self-government 
of the childish East. 
VOL. I. 9 

130 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

thou make it worth his while," (this in a whisper) " will 
be thy friend." The case was looking desperate ; my 
preceptor was urged to lose no time. 

Presently Shaykh Mohammed returned in company 
with the principal, a little, thin, ragged-bearded, one-eyed, 
hare-lipped divine, dressed in very dirty clothes, of non- 
descript cut. Born at Maskat of Afghan parents, and 
brought up at Meccah, he was a kind of cosmopolite, 
speaking five languages fluently, and full of reminiscences 
of toil and travel. He refused pipes and coffee, professing 
to be ascetically disposed : but he ate more than half my 
dinner, to reassure me, I presume, should I have been 
fearful that abstinence might injure his health. We 
then chatted in sundry tongues. I offered certain pre- 
sents of books, which were rejected (such articles being 
valueless), and the Shaykh Abd al-Wahhab having ex- 
pressed his satisfaction at my account of myself, told me 
to call for him at the Azhar Mosque next Morning. 

Accordingly at six p.m. Shaykh Mohammed and 
Abdullah Khan, 1 — the latter equipped in a gigantic 
sprigged-muslin turband, so as to pass for a student of 
theology, — repaired to Al-Azhar. Passing through the 
open quadrangle, we entered the large hall which forms 
the body of the Mosque. In the northern wall was a dwarf 
door, leading by breakneck stairs to a pigeon-hole, the 
study of the learned Afghan Shaykh. We found him 
ensconced behind piles of musty and greasy manuscripts, 
surrounded by scholars and scribes, with whom he was 
cheapening books. He had not much business to trans- 
act ; but long before he was ready, the stifling atmosphere 
drove us out of the study, and we repaired to the hall. 
Presently the Shaykh joined us, and we all rode on 
to the citadel, and waited in a Mosque till the office hour 
struck. When the doors were opened we went into the 

1 Khan is a title assumed in India and other countries by all 
Afghans, and Pathans, their descendants, simple as well as gentle. 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 131 

" Diwan," and sat patiently till the Shaykh found an 
opportunity of putting in a word. The officials were two 
in number ; one an old invalid, very thin and sickly- 
looking, dressed in the Turco- European style, whose hand 
was being severely kissed by a troop of religious beggars, 
to whom he had done some small favours ; the other was 
a stout young clerk, whose duty it was to engross, and 
not to have his hand kissed. 

My name and other essentials were required, and no 
objections were offered, for who holier than the Shaykh Abd 
al-Wahhab ibn Yunus al-Sulaymani ? The clerk filled 
up a printed paper in the Turkish language, apparently 
borrowed from the European method for spoiling the 
traveller ; certified me, upon the Shaykh's security, to be 
one Abdullah, the son of Yusuf (Joseph), originally from 
Kabul, described my person, and, in exchange for five 
piastres, handed me the document. I received it with 


With bows, and benedictions, and many wishes that 
Allah might make it the officials' fate to become pilgrims, 
we left the office, and returned towards Al-Azhar. When 
we had nearly reached the Mosque, Shaykh Mohammed 
lagged behind, and made the sign. I drew near the 
Afghan, and asked for his hand. He took the hint, and 
muttering, " It is no matter ! " — " It is not necessary ! " — 
" By Allah it is not required ! " extended his fingers, and 
brought the " musculus guineorum" to bear upon three 

Poor man ! I believe it was his necessity that con- 
sented to be paid for the doing a common act of Moslem 
charity ; he had a wife and children, and the calling of an 
Alim 1 is no longer worth much in Egypt. 

My departure from Cairo was hastened by an acci- 
dent. I lost my reputation by a little misfortune that 
happened in this wise. 

1 A theologian, a learned man. 

132 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mcccah. 

At Haji Wali's room in the Caravanserai, I met 
a Yuzbashi, or captain of Albanian Irregulars, who 
was in Egypt on leave from Al-Hijaz. He was a tall, 
bony, and broad-shouldered mountaineer, about forty 
years old, with the large bombe brow, the fierce eyes, thin 
lips, lean jaws, and peaky chin of his race. His musta- 
chios were enormously long and tapering, and the rest of 
his face, like his head, was close shaven. His Fustan 1 was 
none of the cleanest ;. nor was the red cap, which he wore 
rakishly pulled over his frowning forehead, quite free 
from stains. Not permitted to carry the favourite pistols, 
he contented himself with sticking his right hand in the 
empty belt, and stalking about the house with a most 
military mien. Yet he was as little of a bully as carpet 
knight, that same Ali Agha ; his body showed many a 
grisly scar, and one of his shin bones had been broken 
by a Turkish bullet, when he was playing tricks on the 
Albanian hills, — an accident inducing a limp, which he 
attempted to conceal by a heavy swagger. When he 
spoke, his voice was affectedly gruff ; he had a sad knack 
of sneering, and I never saw him thoroughly sober. 

Our acquaintance began with a kind of storm, which 
blew over, and left fine weather. I was showing Haji 
W'ali my pistols with Damascene barrels when Ali Agha 
entered the room. He sat down before me with a grin, 
which said intelligibly enough, " What business have you 
with weapons ?" — snatched the arm out of my hand, and 
began to inspect it as a connoisseur. Not admiring this 
procedure, I wrenched it away from him, and, addressing 
myself to Haji Wali, proceeded quietly with my disserta- 
tion. The captain of Irregulars and I then looked at 
each other. He cocked his cap on one side, in token of 
excited pugnacity. I twirled my moustachios to display 
a kindred emotion. Had he been armed, and in Al-Hijaz, 

1 The stiff, white, plaited kilt worn by Albanians. 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 133 

we should have fought it out at once, for the Arnauts are 
" terribili colla pistola" as the Italians say, meaning that 
upon the least provocation they pull out a horse-pistol, 
and fire it in the face of friend or foe. Of course, the only 
way under these circumstances is to anticipate them ; but 
even this desperate prevention seldom saves a stranger, 
as whenever there is danger, these men go about in 
pairs. I never met with a more reckless brood. Upon 
the line of march Albanian troops are not allowed 
ammunition ; for otherwise there would be half a dozen 
duels a day. When they quarrel over their cups, it is 
the fashion for each man to draw a pistol, and to place it 
against his opponent's breast. The weapons being kept 
accurately clean, seldom miss fire, and if one combatant 
draw trigger before the other, he would immediately be 
shot down by the bystanders. 1 In Egypt these men, — 
who are used as Irregulars, and are often quartered upon 
the hapless villagers, when unable or unwilling to pay 
taxes, — were the terror of the population. On many 
occasions they have quarrelled with foreigners, and in- 
sulted European women. In Al-Hijaz their recklessness 
awes even the Badawin. The townspeople say of them 
that, " tripe-sellers, and bath-servants, at Stambul, they 
become Pharaohs (tyrants, ruffians,) in Arabia." At 
Jeddah the Arnauts have amused themselves with firing 
at the English Consul, Mr. Ogilvie, when he walked upon 
his terrace. And this man-shooting appears a favourite 
sport with them : at Cairo numerous stories illustrate the 
sang froid with which they used to knock over the camel- 
drivers, if any one dared to ride past their barracks. 
The Albanians vaunt their skill in using weapons, and 
their pretensions impose upon Arabs as well as Egyptians ; 
yet I have never found them wonderful with any arm 

1 Those curious about the manners of these desperadoes may 
consult the pages of Giovanni Finati (Murray, London, 1830), and I 
will be answerable that he exaggerates nothing. 

134 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

(the pistol alone excepted) ; and our officers, who have 
visited their native hills, speak of them as tolerable but 
by no means first-rate rifle shots. 

The captain of Irregulars being unhappily debarred 
the pleasure of shooting me, after looking fierce for a time, 
rose, and walked majestically out of the room. A day or 
two afterwards, he called upon me civilly enough, sat 
down, drank a cup of coffee, smoked a pipe, and began to 
converse. But as he knew about a hundred Arabic 
words, and I as many Turkish, our conversation was 
carried on under difficulties. Presently he asked me in a 
whisper for " 'Araki." 1 I replied that there was none in 
the house, which induced a sneer and an ejaculation 
sounding like " Himar," (ass,) the slang synonym amongst 
fast Moslems for water-drinker. After rising to depart, he 
seized me waggishly, with an eye to a trial of strength. 
Thinking that an Indian doctor and a temperance man 
would not be very dangerous, he exposed himself to what 
is professionally termed a " cross-buttock," and had his 
" nut " come in contact with the stone floor instead of my 
bed, he might not have drunk for many a day. The fall 
had a good effect upon his temper. He jumped up, 

i Vulgarly Raki, the cognac of Egypt and Turkey. Generically 
the word means any spirit ; specifically, it is applied to that extracted 
from dates, or dried grapes. The latter is more expensive than the 
former, and costs from 5 to 7 piastres the bottle. It whitens the 
water like Eau de Cologne, and being considered a stomachic, is 
patronised by Europeans as much as by Asiatics. In the Azbakiyah 
gardens at Cairo, the traveller is astonished by perpetual "shouts" 
for " Sciroppo di gomma," as if all the Western population was 
afflicted with sore throat. The reason is that spirituous liquors in a 
Moslem land must not be sold in places of public resort ; so the 
infidel asks for a " syrup of gum," and obtains a " dram " of 'Araki. 
The favourite way of drinking it, is to swallow it neat, and to wash 
it down with a mouthful of cold water. Taken in this way it acts 
like the " petit verre d'absinthe." Egyptian women delight in it, 
and Eastern topers of all classes and sexes prefer it to brandy and 
cognac, the smell of which, being strange, is offensive to them. 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 135 

patted my head, called for another pipe, and sat down to 
show me his wounds, and to boast of his exploits. I 
could not help remarking a ring of English gold, with a 
bezel of bloodstone, sitting strangely upon his coarse, 
sun-stained hand. He declared that it had been snatched 
by him from a Konsul (Consul) at Jeddah, and he 
volubly related, in a mixture of Albanian, Turkish, and 
Arabic, the history of his acquisition. He begged me 
to supply him with a little poison that " would not lie," 
for the purpose of quieting a troublesome enemy, and he 
carefully stowed away in his pouch five grains of calomel, 
which I gave him for that laudable purpose. Before 
taking leave he pressed me strongly to go and drink 
with him ; I refused to do so during the day, but, wishing 
to see how these men sacrifice to Bacchus, promised com- 
pliance that night. About nine o'clock, when the Cara- 
vanserai was quiet, I took a pipe, and a tobacco- 
pouch, 1 stuck my dagger in my belt, and slipped into Ali 
Agha's room. He was sitting on a bed spread upon the 
ground : in front of him stood four wax candles (all 
Orientals hate drinking in any but a bright light), and a 
tray containing a basin of stuff like soup maigre, a dish 
of cold stewed meat, and two bowls of Salatah, 2 sliced 
cucumber, and curds. The "materials" peeped out of 
an iron pot filled with water ; one was a long, thin, white- 
glass flask of 'Araki, the other a bottle of some strong 

1 When Egyptians of the middle classes call upon one another, 
the visitor always carries with him his tobacco-pouch, which he 
hands to the servant, who fills his pipe. 

2 The " Salatah" is made as follows. Take a cucumber, pare, 
slice and place it in a plate, sprinkling it over with salt. After a few 
minutes, season it abundantly with pepper, and put it in a bowl 
containing some peppercorns, and about a pint of curds. When the 
dish is properly mixed, a live coal is placed upon the top of the 
compound to make it bind, as the Arabs say. It is considered a cooling 
dish, and is esteemed by the abstemious, as well as by the toper. 

136 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

perfume. Both were wrapped up in wet rags, the usual 

Ali Agha welcomed me politely, and seeing me 
admire the preparations, bade me beware how I suspected 
an Albanian of not knowing how to drink ; he made me 
sit by him on the bed, threw his dagger to a handy dis- 
tance, signalled me to do the same, and prepared to begin 
the bout. Taking up a little tumbler, in shape like those 
from which French postilions used to drink la gontte, he 
inspected it narrowly, wiped out the interior with his 
forefinger, filled it to the brim, and offered it to his guest 1 
with a bow. I received it with a low salam, swallowed 
its contents at once, turned it upside down in proof of 
fair play, replaced it upon the floor, with a jaunty move- 
ment of the arm, somewhat like a pugilist delivering a 
"rounder," bowed again, and requested him to help him- 
self. The same ceremony followed on his part. Im- 
mediately after each glass, — and rapidly the cup went 
about, — we swallowed a draught of water, and ate a 
spoonful of the meat or the Salatah in order to cool our 
palates. Then we re-applied ourselves to our pipes, 
emitting huge puffs, a sign of being " fast " men, and 
looked facetiously at each other, — drinking being con- 
sidered by Moslems a funny and pleasant sort of sin. 

The Albanian captain was at least half seas over 
when we began the bout, yet he continued to fill and to 
drain without showing the least progress towards ebriety. 
I in vain for a time expected the bad-masti (as the Persians 
call it,) the horse play, and the gross facetiae, which gene- 

1 These Albanians are at most half Asiatic as regards manner. 
In the East generally, the host drinks of the cup, and dips his hand 
into the dish before his guest, for the same reason that the master of 
the house precedes his visitor over the threshold. Both actions 
denote that no treachery is intended, and to reverse them, as amongst 
us, would be a gross breach of custom, likely to excite the liveliest 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 137 

rally accompany southern and eastern tipsiness. Ali 
Agha, indeed, occasionally took up the bottle of perfume, 
filled the palm of his right hand, and dashed it in my 
face : I followed his example, but our pleasantries went 
no further. 

Presently my companion started a grand project, 
namely, that I should entice the respectable Haji Wali 
into the room, where we might force him to drink. The 
idea was facetious ; it was making a Bow-street magis- 
trate polk at a casino. I started up to fetch the Haji ; and 
when I returned with him Ali Agha was found in a new 
stage of " freshness." He had stuck a green-leaved 
twig upright in the floor, and had so turned over a gugglet 
of water, that its contents trickled slowly, in a tiny 
stream under the verdure ; whilst he was sitting before it 
mentally gazing, with an outward show of grim Quixotic 
tenderness, upon the shady trees and the cool rills of his 
fatherland. Possibly he had peopled the place with 
" young barbarians at play ;" for verily I thought that a 
tear " which had no business there " was glistening in 
his stony eye. 

The appearance of Haji Wali suddenly changed the 
scene. Ali Agha jumped up, seized the visitor by the 
shoulder, compelled him to sit down, and, ecstasied by 
the old man's horror at the scene, filled a tumbler, and 
with the usual grotesque grimaces insisted upon its being 
drunk off. Haji Wali stoutly refused ; then Ali Agha put 
it to his own lips, and drained it, with a hurt feeling and 
reproachful aspect. We made our unconvivial friend 
smoke a few puffs, and then we returned to the charge. 
In vain the Haji protested that throughout life he had 
avoided the deadly sin ; in vain he promised to drink 
with us to-morrow, — in vain he quoted the Koran, and 
alternately coaxed, and threatened us with the police. We 
were inexorable. At last the Haji started upon his feet, 
and rushed away, regardless of any thing but escape, 

138 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

leaving his Tarbush, his slippers, and his pipe, in the 
hands of the enemy. The host did not dare to pursue 
his recreant guest beyond the door, but returning he 
carefully sprinkled the polluting liquid on the cap, pipe, 
and shoes, and called the Haji an ass in every tongue he 

Then we applied ourselves to supper, and dis- 
patched the soup, the stew, and the Salatah. A few 
tumblers and pipes were exhausted to obviate indigestion, 
when Ali Agha arose majestically, and said that he 
required a troop of dancing girls to gladden his eyes with 
a ballet. 

I represented that such persons are no longer ad- 
mitted into Caravanserais. 1 He inquired, with calm 
ferocity, "who hath forbidden it?" I replied "the 
Pasha ;" upon which Ali Agha quietly removed his cap, 
brushed it with his dexter fore-arm, fitted it on his fore- 
head, raking forwards, twisted his mustachios to the sharp 
point of a single hair, shouldered his pipe, and moved 
towards the door, vowing that he would make the Pasha 
himself come, and dance before us. 

I foresaw a brawl, and felt thankful that my boon 
companion had forgotten his dagger. Prudence whis- 
pered me to return to my room, to bolt the door, and to 
go to bed, but conscience suggested that it would be un- 
fair to abandon the Albanian in his present helpless state. 
I followed him into the outer gallery, pulling him, and 
begging him, as a despairing wife might urge a drunken 
husband, to return home. And he, like the British hus- 
band, being greatly irritated by the unjovial advice, 
instantly belaboured with his pipe-stick 2 the first person 

1 Formerly these places, like the coffee-houses, were crowded 
with bad characters. Of late years the latter have been refused 
admittance, but it would be as easy to bar the door to gnats and 
flies. They appear as " foot-pages," as washerwomen, as beggars ; 
in fact, they evade the law with ingenuity and impunity. 

2 Isma'il Pasha was murdered by Malik Ximr, chief of Shendy, 

VII. — Preparations to Quit Cairo. 139 

he met in the gallery, and sent him flying down the 
stairs with fearful shouts of "O Egyptians! O ye ac- 
cursed ! O genus of Pharaoh ! O race of dogs ! O 
Egyptians ! " 

He then burst open a door with his shoulder, and 
reeled into a room where two aged dames were placidly 
reposing by the side of their spouses, who were basket- 
makers. They immediately awoke, seeing a stranger, 
and, hearing his foul words, they retorted with a hot 
volley of vituperation. 

Put to flight by the old women's tongues, Ali Agha, 
in spite of all my endeavours, reeled down the stairs, and 
fell upon the sleeping form of the night porter, whose 
blood he vowed to drink — the Oriental form of threaten- 
ing " spiflication." Happily for the assaulted, the Agha's 
servant, a sturdy Albanian lad, was lying on a mat in 
the doorway close by. Roused by the tumult, he jumped 
up, and found the captain in a state of fury. Apparently 
the man was used to the master's mood. Without delay 
he told us all to assist, and we lending a helping hand, 
half dragged and half carried the Albanian to his room. 
Yet even in this ignoble plight, he shouted with all the 
force of his lungs the old war-cry, " O Egyptians ! O race 
of dogs ! I have dishonoured all Sikandariyah — all 
Kahirah — all Suways. 1 " And in this vaunting frame of 
mind he was put to bed. No Welsh undergraduate at 
Oxford, under similar circumstances, ever gave more 

" You had better start on your pilgrimage at once," 

for striking him with a chibuk across the face. Travellers would do 
well to remember, that in these lands the pipe-stick and the slipper 
disgrace a man, whereas a whip or a rod would not do so. The 
probable reason of this is, that the two articles of domestic use are 
applied slightingly, not seriously, to the purposes of punishment. 

1 Anglice, Alexandria, Cairo, and Suez, — an extensive field of 

140 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

said Haji Wali, meeting me the next morning with a 
11 goguenard " smile. 

He was right. Throughout the Caravanserai nothing 
was talked of for nearly a week but the wickedness of the 
captain of Albanian Irregulars, and the hypocrisy of the 
staid Indian doctor. Thus it was, gentle reader, that I lost 
my reputation of being a "serious person" at Cairo. 
And all I have to show for it is the personal experience 
of an Albanian drinking-bout. 

I wasted but little time in taking leave of my friends, 
telling them, by way of precaution, that my destination 
was Meccah via Jeddah, and firmly determining, if pos- 
sible, to make Al-Madinah via Yambu'. " Conceal," 
says the Arab's proverb, " Thy Tenets, thy Treasure, and 
thy Travelling." 

I 4 I 



Shaykh Nassar, a Badawi of Tur (Mount Sinai,) 
being on his way homewards, agreed to let me have two 
dromedaries for the sum of fifty piastres, or about ten 
shillings, each. 1 Being desirous to set out with a certain 
display of respectability, I accepted these terms : a man 
of humble pretensions would have travelled with a single 
animal, and a camel-man running behind him. But, 
besides ostentation, I wanted my attendant to be mounted, 
that we might make a forced march in order to ascertain 
how much a four years' life of European effeminacy had 
impaired my powers of endurance. The reader may 
believe the assertion that there are few better tests than 
an eighty-four mile ride in mid-summer, on a bad wooden 
saddle, borne by a worse dromedary, across the Suez 
Desert. Even the Squire famed for being copper-sheeted 
might not have disdained a trial of the kind. 

I started my Indian boy and heavy luggage for Suez 
two days before the end of the Id, — laden camels gene- 
rally taking fifty-five or sixty hours to do the journey, 
and I spent the intermediate time with Haji Wali. He 
advised me to mount about 3 p.m., so that I might arrive 
at Suez on the evening of the next day, and assisted me 

1 The proper hire of a return dromedary from Cairo to Suez is 
forty piastres. But every man is charged in proportion to his rank, 
and Europeans generally pay about double. 

142 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

in making due preparations of water, tobacco, and pro- 
visions. Early on the morning of departure the Afghan 
Shaykh came to the Caravanserai, and breakfasted with 
us, " because Allah willed it." After a copious meal 
he bestowed upon me a stately benediction, and would 
have embraced me, but I humbly bent over his hand : 
sad to relate, immediately that his back was turned, 
Haji Wali raised his forefinger to a right angle with 
the palm (chaff), and burst into a shout of irreverent 
laughter. At three o'clock Nassar, the Badawi, came to 
announce that the dromedaries were saddled. I dressed 
myself, sticking a pistol in my belt, and passing the crim- 
son silk cord of the " Hamail " or pocket Koran over my 
shoulder, in token of being a pilgrim. Then distributing 
a few trifling presents to friends and servants, and accom- 
panied by the Shaykh Mohammed and Haji Wali, I de- 
scended the stairs with an important gait. In the courtyard 
squatted the camels, (dromedaries they could not be called,) 
and I found that a second driver was going to accompany 
us. I objected to this, as the extra Badawi would, of 
course, expect to be fed by me ; but Nassar swore that the 
man was his brother, and as you rarely gain by small 
disputes with these people, he was allowed to have his 
own way. 

Then came the preparatory leave-takings. Haji 
Wali embraced me heartily, and so did my poor old Shaykh, 
who, despite his decrepitude and my objections, insisted 
upon accompanying me to the city gate. I mounted the 
camel, crossed my legs before the pommel — stirrups 
are not used in Egypt ! — and, preceding my friend, de- 

1 The tender traveller had better provide himself with a pair of 
stirrups, but he will often find, when on camel back, that his legs 
are more numbed by hanging down, than by the Arab way of 
crossing them before and beneath the pommel. He must, however, 
be careful to inspect his saddle, and, should bars of wood not suit 
him, to have them covered with stuffed leather. And again, for my 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 143 

scended the street leading towards the Desert. As we 
emerged from the huge gateway of the Caravanserai all 
the bystanders, except only the porter, who believed me 
to be a Persian, and had seen me with the drunken 
captain, exclaimed, "Allah bless thee, Y'al-Hajj, 1 and 
restore thee to thy country and thy friends ! " And 
passing through the Bab al-Nasr, where I addressed the 
salutation of peace to the sentry, and to the officer com- 
manding the guard, both gave me God-speed with great 
cordiality' 2 — the pilgrim's blessing in Asia, like the old 
woman's in Europe, being supposed to possess peculiar 
efficacy. Outside the gate my friends took a final leave 
of me, and I will not deny having felt a tightening of 
heart as their honest faces and forms faded in the 

But Shaykh Nassar switches his camel's shoulder, 
and appears inclined to take the lead. This is a trial of 
manliness. There is no time for emotion. Not a moment 
can be spared, even for a retrospect. I kick my drome- 
clary, who steps out into a jog-trot. The Badawin with 
a loud ringing laugh attempt to give me the go-by. I 
resist, and we continue like children till the camels are at 
their speed, though we have eighty-four miles before us, 
and above us an atmosphere like a furnace blast. The 
road is deserted at this hour, otherwise grave Moslem 

part, I would prefer riding a camel with a nose-ring, — Mongol and 
Sindian fashion, — to holding him, as the Egyptians do, with a halter, 
or to guiding him, — Wahhabiwise, — with a stick. 

1 "O pilgrim!" The Egyptians write the word Hajj, and pro- 
nounce Hagg. In Persia, India, and Turkey, it becomes Haji. 
These are mere varieties of form, derived from one and the same 
Arabic root. 

2 The Egyptians and Arabs will not address " Salam " to an 
infidel ; the Moslems of India have no such objection. This, on the 
banks of the Nile, is the revival of an old prejudice. Alexander of 
Alexandria, in his circular letter, describes the Arian heretics as 
" men whom it is not lawful to salute, or to bid God-speed." 

144 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

travellers would have believed the police to be nearer than 
convenient to us. 

Presently we drew rein, and exchanged our pace for 
one more seasonable, whilst the sun began to tell on man 
and beast. High raised as we were above the ground, 
the reflected heat struck us sensibly, and the glare of a 
macadamized road added a few extra degrees of caloric. 1 
The Badawin, to refresh themselves, prepare to smoke. 
They fill my chibuk, light it with a flint and steel, and 
cotton dipped in a solution of gunpowder, and pass it 
over to me. 2 After a few puffs I return it to them, and 
they use it turn by turn. Then they begin to while 
away the tedium of the road by asking questions, which 
passe-temps is not easily exhausted ; for they are never 
satisfied till they know as much of you as you do of your- 
self. They next resort to talking about victuals ; for with 
this hungry race, food, as a topic of conversation, takes 
the place of money in happier lands. And lastly, even 
this engrossing subject being exhausted for the moment, 

i It is Prince Puckler Muskau, if I recollect rightly, who men- 
tions that in his case a pair of dark spectacles produced a marked 
difference of apparent temperature, whilst travelling over the sultry 
sand of the Desert. I have often remarked the same phenomenon. 
The Arabs, doubtless for some reason of the kind, always draw their 
head-kerchiefs, like hoods, far over their brows, and cover up their 
mouths, even when the sun and wind are behind them. Inhabitants 
of the Desert are to be recognised by the net-work of wrinkles traced 
in the skin round the orbits, the result of half-closing their eyelids ; 
but this is done to temper the intensity of the light. 

2 Their own pipe-tubes were of coarse wood, in shape somewhat 
resembling the German porcelain pipe. The bowl was of soft stone, 
apparently steatite, which, when fresh, is easily fashioned with a 
knife. In Arabia the Badawin, and even the townspeople, use on 
journeys an earthen tube from five to six inches shorter than the 
English " clay," thicker in the tube, with a large bowl, and coloured 
yellowish-red. It contains a handful of tobacco, and the smoker 
emits puffs like a chimney. In some of these articles the bowl forms 
a rectangle with the tube ; in others, the whole is an unbroken 
curve, like the old Turkish Meerschaum. 

VIII. — Fvom Cairo to Suez. 145 

they take refuge in singing ; and, monotonous and dron- 
ing as it is, their Modinha has yet an artless plaintiveness, 
which admirably suits the singer and the scenery. If 
you listen to the words, you will surely hear allusions 
to bright verdure, cool shades, bubbling rills, or some- 
thing which hereabouts man hath not, and yet which his 
soul desires. 

And now while Nassar and his brother are chaunting 
a duet, — the refrain being, 

" W'al arz mablul bi matar," 
" And the earth wet with rain," — 
I must crave leave to say a few words, despite the trite- 
ness of the subject, about the modern Sinaitic race of 

Besides the tribes occupying the northern parts of 
the peninsula, five chief clans are enumerated by Burck- 
hardt. 1 Nassar, and other authorities at Suez, divided 
them into six, namely : — 

1. Karashi, who, like the Gara in Eastern Arabia, 
claim an apocryphal origin from the great Koraysh tribe. 

2. Salihi, the principal family of the Sinaitic Badawin. 

3. Arimi : according to Burckhardt this clan is merely 
a sub-family of the Sawalihahs. 

4. Sa'idi. Burckhardt calls them Walad Sa'id and 
derives them also from the Sawalihahs. 

5. Aliki ; and lastly, the 

6. Muzaynah, generally pronounced M'zaynah. This 
clan claims to be an off-shoot from the great Juhaynah tribe 
inhabiting the coasts and inner barrens about Yambu'. 
According to oral tradition, five persons, the ancestors 
of the present Muzaynah race, were forced by a blood- 
feud to fly their native country. They landed at the 
Shurum, 2 or creek-ports, and have now spread them- 

1 See Wallin's papers, published in the Journals of the Royal 
Geographical Society. 

2 Shurum, (plural of Sharm, a creek), a word prefixed to the 
proper names of three small ports in the Sinaitic peninsula. 

VOL. 1. IO 

146 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

selves over the Eastern parts of the so-called "Sinaitic" 
peninsula. In Al-Hijaz the Muzaynah is an old and 
noble tribe. It produced Ka'ab al-Ahbar, the celebrated 
poet, to whom Mohammed gave the cloak which the 
Ottomans believe to have been taken by Sultan Salim 
from Egypt, and to have been converted under the 
name of Khirkah Sharif, into the national Oriflamme. 

There are some interesting ethnographical points 
about these Sinaitic clans — interesting at least to those 
who would trace the genealogy of the great Arabian 
family. Any one who knows the Badawin can see that 
the Muzaynah are pure blood. Their brows are broad, 
their faces narrow, their features regular, and their eyes 
of a moderate size ; whereas the other Tawarah 1 (Sinaitic) 
clans are as palpably Egyptian. They have preserved that 
roundness of face which may still be seen in the Sphinx 
as in the modern Copt, and their eyes have that peculiar 
size, shape, and look, which the old Egyptian painters 
attempted to express by giving to the profile, the form 
of the full, organ. Upon this feature, so characteristic of 
the Nilotic race, I would lay great stress. No traveller 
familiar with the true Egyptian eye, — long, almond-shaped, 
deeply fringed, slightly raised at the outer corner and 
dipping in front like the Chinese,' 2 — can ever mistake it. 
It is to be seen in half-castes, and, as I have before 
remarked, families originally from the banks of the Nile, 
but settled for generations in the Holy Land of Al-Hijaz, 
retain the peculiarity. 

I therefore believe the Turi Badawin to be an impure 

1 Tawarah, plural of Turi, an inhabitant of Tur or Sinai. 

2 This feature did not escape the practised eye of Denon. " Eyes 
long, almond-shaped, half shut, and languishing, and turned up at 
the outer corner, as if habitually fatigued by the light and heat of 
the sun ; cheeks round, &c," {Voyage en Egypt). The learned French- 
man's description of the ancient Egyptians applies in most points to 
the Turi Badawin. 


VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 147 

race, Syro-Egyptian, 1 whereas their neighbour the Hijazi 
is the pure Syrian or Mesopotamian. 

A wonderful change has taken place in the Tawarah 
tribes, whilome pourtrayed by Sir John Mandeville as 
" folke fulle of alle evylle condiciouns." Niebuhr notes 
the trouble they gave him, and their perpetual hankering 
for both murder and pillage. Even in the late Mo- 
hammed Ali's early reign, no governor of Suez dared 
to flog, or to lay hands upon, a Turi, whatever offence 
he might have committed within the walls of the town. 
Now the Wild Man's sword is taken from him, before he 
is allowed to enter the gates, 2 and my old acquaintance, 
Ja'afar Bey, would think no more of belabouring a 
Badawi than of flogging a Fellah. 3 Such is the result of 

1 " And he " (Ishmael) " dwelt in the wilderness of Paran," (Wady 
Firan ?) "and his mother took him a wife, out of the land of Egypt," 
(Gen. xxi. 21). I wonder that some geographers have attempted to 
identify Massa, the son of Ishmael, (Gen. xxv. 14), with Meccah, 
when in verse 18 of the same chapter we read, "And they" (the 
twelve princes, sons of Ishmael) " dwelt from Havilah unto Shur." This 
asserts, as clearly as language can, that the posterity of, or the race 
typified by, Ishmael, — the Syro-Egyptian, — occupied only the northern 
parts of the peninsula. Their habitat is not even included in Arabia 
by those writers who bound the country on the north by an imaginary 
line drawn from Ras Mohammed to the mouths of the Euphrates. 
The late Dr. J. Wilson ("Lands of the Bible"), repeated by Eliot 
Warburton ("Crescent and Cross"), lays stress upon the Tawarah 
tradition, that they are Benu Isra'il converted to Al-Islam, 
considering it a fulfilment of the prophecy, " that a remnant of 
Israel shall dwell in Edom." With due deference to so illustrious 
an Orientalist and Biblical scholar as was Dr. Wilson, I believe that 
most modern Moslems, being ignorant that Jacob was the first called 
" prince with God," apply the term Benu-Isra'il to all the posterity 
of Abraham, not to Jews only. 

2 In 1879 the Gates of Suez are a thing of the past ; and it is 
not easy to find where they formerly stood. 

3 In the mouth of a Turk, no epithet is more contemptuous than 
that of " Fellah ibn Fellah," — " boor, son of a boor !" The Osmanlis 
have, as usual, a semi-religious tradition to account for the superiority 
of their nation over the Egyptians. When the learned doctor, Abu 

148 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Mohammed Airs vigorous policy, and such the effects of 
even semi-civilisation, when its influence is brought to 
bear direct upon barbarism. 

To conclude this subject, the Tawarah still retain 
many characteristics of the Badawi race. The most good- 
humoured and sociable of men, they delight in a jest, 
and may readily be managed by kindness and courtesy. 
Yet they are passionate, nice upon points of honour, 
revengeful, and easily offended, where their peculiar pre- 
judices are misunderstood. I have always found them 
pleasant companions, and deserving of respect, for their 
hearts are good, and their courage is beyond a doubt. 
Those travellers who complain of their insolence and 
extortion may have been either ignorant of their lan- 
guage or offensive to them by assumption of superority, 
— in the Desert man meets man, — or physically unfitted 
to acquire their esteem. 

We journeyed on till near sunset through the 
wilderness without ennui. It is strange how the mind 
can be amused by scenery that presents so few objects to 
occupy it. But in such a country every slight modifica- 
tion of form or colour rivets observation : the senses are 
sharpened, and the perceptive faculties, prone to sleep 
over a confused mass of natural objects, act vigorously 
when excited by the capability of embracing each detail. 
Moreover, Desert views are eminently suggestive ; they 

Abdullah Mohammed bin Idris al-Shafe'i, returned from Meccah to 
the banks of the Nile, he mounted, it is said, a donkey belonging to 
one of the Asinarii of Bulak. Arriving at the Caravanserai, he gave 
the man ample fare, whereupon the Egyptian, putting forth his hand, 
and saying " hat " (give !) called for more. The doctor doubled the 
fee ; still the double was demanded. At last the divine's purse was 
exhausted, and the proprietor of the donkey waxed insolent. A 
wandering Turk seeing this, took all the money from the Egyptian, 
paid him his due, solemnly kicked him, and returned the rest to Al- 
Shafe'i, who asked him his name — " Osman " — and his nation — 
the " Osmanli," — blessed him, and prophesied to his countrymen 
supremacy over the Fellahs and donkey boys of Egypt. 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 149 

appeal to the Future, not to the Past : they arouse because 
they are by no means memorial. To the solitary way- 
farer there is an interest in the Wilderness unknown to 
Cape seas and Alpine glaciers, and even to the rolling 
Prairie, — the effect of continued excitement on the mind, 
stimulating its powers to their pitch. Above, through a 
sky terrible in its stainless beauty, and the splendours of 
a pitiless blinding glare, the Samun l caresses you like a 
lion with flaming breath. Around lie drifted sand-heaps, 
upon which each puff of wind leaves its trace in solid 
waves, flayed rocks, the very skeletons of mountains, 
and hard unbroken plains, over which he who rides is 
spurred by the idea that the bursting of a water-skin, or 
the pricking of a camel's hoof, would be a certain death 
of torture, — a haggard land infested with wild beasts, 
and wilder men, — a region whose very fountains murmur 
the warning words " Drink and away ! " What can 
be more exciting ? what more sublime ? Man's heart 
bounds in his breast at the thought of measuring his 
puny force with Nature's might, and of emerging 
triumphant from the trial. This explains the Arab's pro- 
verb, " Voyaging is victory." In the Desert, even more 
than upon the ocean, there is present death : hardship 
is there, and piracies, and shipwreck, solitary, not in 
crowds, where, as the Persians say, " Death is a Festival" ; 
— and this sense of danger, never absent, invests the 
scene of travel with an interest not its own. 

Let the traveller who suspects exaggeration leave 
the Suez road for an hour or two, and gallop northwards 
over the sands : in the drear silence, the solitude, and the 
fantastic desolation of the place, he will feel what the 
Desert may be. 

And then the Oases, 2 and little lines of fertility — 

1 From Samm, the poison-wind. Vulgar and most erroneously 
called the Simoon. 

2 Hugh Murray derives this word from the Egyptian, and quoting 

150 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

how soft and how beautiful ! — even though the Wady al- 
Ward (the Vale of Flowers) be the name of some stern 
flat upon which a handful of wild shrubs blossom while 
struggling through a cold season's ephemeral existence. 
In such circumstances the mind is influenced through the 
body. Though your mouth glows, and your skin is 
parched, yet you feel no languor, the effect of humid 
heat ; your lungs are lightened, your sight brightens, 
your memory recovers its tone, and your spirits become 
exuberant ; your fancy and imagination are powerfully 
aroused, and the wildness and sublimity of the scenes 
around you stir up all the energies of your soul — whether 
for exertion, danger, or strife. Your morale improves ; you 
become frank and cordial, hospitable and single-minded : 
the hypocritical politeness and the slavery of civilisa- 
tion are left behind you in the city. Your senses are 
quickened : they require no stimulants but air and exer- 
cise, — in the Desert spirituous liquors excite only disgust. 
There is a keen enjoyment in mere animal existence. 
The sharp appetite disposes of the most indigestible food ; 

Strabo and Abulfeda makes it synonymous with Auasis and Hyasis. I 
believe it to be a mere corruption of the Arabic Wady (,oL) or Wah. 
Nothing can be more incorrect than the vulgar idea of an Arabian 
Oasis, except it be the popular conception of an Arabian Desert. 
One reads of " isles of the sandy sea," but one never sees them. 
The real " Wady " is, generally speaking, a rocky valley bisected by 
the bed of a mountain torrent, dry during the hot season. In such 
places the Badawin love to encamp, because they find food and 
drink, — water being always procurable by digging. When the supply 
is perennial, the Wady becomes the site of a village. The Desert is 
as unaptly compared to a " sandy sea." Most of the wilds of Arabia 
resemble the tract between Suez and Cairo ; only the former are of 
primary formation, whereas the others are of a later date. Sand- 
heaps are found in every Desert, but sand-plains are a local feature, 
not the general face of the country. The Wilderness, east of the Nile, 
is mostly a hard dry earth, which requires only a monsoon to become 
highly productive : even where silicious sand covers the plain, the 
waters of a torrent, depositing humus or vegetable mould, bind the 
particles together, and fit it for the reception of seed. 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 151 

the sand is softer than a bed of down, and the purity of 
the air suddenly puts to flight a dire cohort of diseases. 
Hence it is that both sexes, and every age, the most 
material as well as the most imaginative of minds, the 
tamest citizen, the parson, the old maid, the peaceful 
student, the spoiled child of civilisation, all feel their 
hearts dilate, and their pulses beat strong, as they look 
down from their dromedaries upon the glorious Desert. 
Where do we hear of a traveller being disappointed by 
it ? It is another illustration of the ancient truth that 
Nature returns to man, however unworthily he has treated 
her. And believe me, when once your tastes have con- 
formed to the tranquillity of such travel, you will suffer 
real pain in returning to the turmoil of civilisation. You 
will anticipate the bustle and the confusion of artificial 
life, its luxury and its false pleasures, with repugnance. 
Depressed in spirits, you will for a time after your return 
feel incapable of mental or bodily exertion. The air of 
cities will suffocate you, and the care-worn and cadaverous 
countenances of citizens will haunt you like a vision of 
judgment. 1 

As the black shadow mounted in the Eastern sky, 2 I 
turned off the road, and was suddenly saluted by a figure 
rising from a little hollow with an " As' Salamu 'alaykum" 
of truly Arab sound. 3 I looked at the speaker for a 
moment without recognising him. He then advanced 
with voluble expressions of joy, invited me to sup, seized 

1 The intelligent reader will easily understand that I am speaking 
of the Desert in the temperate season, not during the summer heats, 
when the whole is one vast furnace, nor in winter, when the Sarsar 
wind cuts like an Italian Tramontana. 

2 This, as a general rule in Al-Islam, is a sign that the Maghrib 
or evening prayer must not be delayed. The Shafe'i school performs 
its devotions immediately after the sun has disappeared. 

3 This salutation of peace is so differently pronounced by every 
Eastern nation that the observing traveller will easily make of it a 

152 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

my camel's halter without waiting for an answer, 
" nakh'd 1 " it {i.e. forced it to kneel), led me hurriedly to 
a carpet spread in a sandy hollow, pulled off my slippers, 
gave me cold water for ablution, told me that he had 
mistaken me at a distance for a " Sherif " (or Prince) of 
the Arabs, but was delighted to find himself in error ; and 
urged me to hurry over ablution, otherwise that night 
would come on before we could say our prayers. It was 
Mohammed al-Basyuni, the Meccan boy of whom I had 
bought my pilgrim-garb at Cairo. There I had refused 
his companionship, but here for reasons of his own — one 
of them was an utter want of money, — he would take no 
excuse. When he prayed, he stood behind me, 2 thereby 
proving pliancy of conscience, for he suspected me from 
the first of being at least a heretic. 

After prayer he lighted a pipe, and immediately 
placed the snake-like tube in my hand ; this is an argu- 
ment which the tired traveller can rarely resist. He then 
began to rummage my saddle-bags ; he drew forth stores 
of provisions, rolls, water-melons, boiled eggs, and dates, 
and whilst lighting the fire and boiling the coffee, he man- 
aged to distribute his own stock, which was neither plentiful 
nor first-rate, to the camel-men. Shaykh Nassar and 
his brother looked aghast at this movement, but the boy 
was inexorable. They tried a few rough hints, which he 
noticed by singing a Hindustani couplet that asserts the 
impropriety of anointing rats' heads with jasmine oil. 
They suspected abuse, and waxed cross ; he acknow- 
ledged this by deriding them. " I have heard of Nasrs 
and Nasirs and Mansurs, but may Allah spare me the 

1 To " nakh " in vulgar, as in classical, Arabic is to gurgle " Ikh! 
ikh !" in the bottom of one's throat till the camel kneels down. We 
have no English word for this proceeding ; but Anglo-Oriental trav- 
ellers are rapidly naturalising the " nakh." 

2 There are many qualifications necessary for an Imam — a leader 
of prayer ; the first condition, of course, is orthodoxy. 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 153 

mortification of a Nassar ! " said the boy, relying upon 
my support. And I urged him on, wanting to see how 
the city Arab treats the countryman. He then took my 
tobacco-pouch from the angry Badawin, and in a stage- 
whisper reproved me for entrusting it to such thieves ; 
insisting, at the same time, upon drinking all the coffee, 
so that the poor guides had to prepare some for them- 
selves. He improved every opportunity of making mis- 
chief. "We have eaten water-melon!" cried Nassar, 
patting its receptacle in token of repletion. " Dost thou 
hear, my lord, how they grumble ? — the impudent 
ruffians!" remarked Mohammed — "We have eaten water- 
melon ! that is to say, we ought to have eaten meat ! " 
The Badawin, completely out of temper, told him not to 
trust himself among their hills. He seized a sword, and 
began capering about after the fashion of the East-Indian 
school of arms, and boasted that he would attack single- 
handed the whole clan, which elicited an ironical " Allah ! 
Allah !" from the hearers. 

After an hour most amusingly spent in this way, I 
arose, and insisted upon mounting, much to the dissatis- 
faction of my guides, who wished to sleep there. Shaykh 
Nassar and his brother had reckoned upon living gratis, 
for at least three days, judging it improbable that a 
soft Effendi would hurry himself. When they saw the 
fair vision dissolve, they began to finesse : they induced 
the camel-man, who ran by the side of Mohammed's drom- 
edary, to precede the animal — a favourite manoeuvre to 
prevent overspeed. Ordered to fall back, the man pleaded 
fatigue, and inability to walk. The boy Mohammed im- 
mediately asked if I had any objection to dismount one 
of my guides, and to let his weary attendant ride for an 
hour or so. I at once assented, and the Badawin obeyed 
me with ominous grumblings. W r hen we resumed our 
march the melancholy Arabs had no song left in them ; 
whereas Mohammed chaunted vociferously, and quoted 

154 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

bad Hindustani and worse Persian till silence was forcibly 
imposed upon him. The camel-men lagged behind, in 
order to prevent my dromedary advancing too fast, and 
the boy's guide, after dismounting, would stride along in 
front of us, under pretext of showing the way. And so 
we jogged on, now walking, then trotting, till the drome- 
daries began to grunt with fatigue, and the Arabs 
clamoured for a halt. 

At midnight we reached the Central Station, and lay 
down under its walls to take a little rest. The dews fell 
heavily, wetting the sheets that covered us ; but who 
cares for such trifles in the Desert ? The moon shone 
bright; 1 the breeze blew coolly, and the jackal sang a 
lullaby which lost no time in inducing the soundest sleep. 
As the Wolfs Tail 2 showed in the heavens we arose. 
Grey mists floating over the hills northwards gave the 
Dar al-Bayda, 3 the Pasha's Palace, the look of some 
old feudal castle. There was a haze in the atmos- 
phere, which beautified even the face of Desolation. 
The swift flying Kata 4 sprang in noisy coveys from 
the road, and a stray gazelle paced daintily over the 
stony plain. As we passed by the Pilgrims' tree, I 

i " The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night," 
(Psalm cxxi. 6). Easterns still believe firmly in the evil effects of 
moonlight upon the human frame, — from Sind to Abyssinia, the 
traveller will hear tales of wonder concerning it. 

2 The Dum i Gurg, or wolf's tail, is the Persian name for the 
first brushes of grey light which appear as forerunners of dawn. 

3 Dar al-Bayda is a palace belonging to H.H. Abbas Pasha. 
This " white house " was formerly called the " red house," — I believe 
from the colour of its windows, — but the name was changed, as being 
not particularly good-omened. 

4 The Tetrao Kata or sand-grouse, (Pterocles melanogaster ; in 
Sind called the rock pigeon), is a fast-flying bird, not unlike a 
grey partridge whilst upon the wing. When, therefore, Shanfara 
boasts " The ash-coloured Katas can only drink my leavings, after 
hastening all night to slake their thirst in the morning," it is a hyper- 
bole to express exceeding swiftness. 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 155 

added another rag to its coat of tatters. 1 We then 
invoked the aid of the holy saint Al-Dakruri 2 from his 
cream-coloured abode, mounted our camels, and resumed 
the march in real earnest. The dawn passed away in its 
delicious coolness, and sultry morning came on. Then 
day glared in its fierceness, and the noontide sun made the 
plain glow with terrible heat. Still we pressed onwards. 
At 3 p.m. we turned off the road into a dry water-course, 
which is not far from No. 13 Station. The sand was 
dotted with thedried-up leaves of the Datura, and strongly 
perfumed by "Shih," a kind of Absinthe (Artemisia)* 
the sweetest herb of the Desert. A Mimosa was there, 
and although its shade at this season is little better than 

1 I have already, when writing upon the subject of Sind, alluded 
to this system as prevalent throughout Al-Islam, and professed, like 
Mr. Lane, ignorance of its origin and object. In Hue's travels, we 
are told that the Tartars worship mountain spirits by raising an 
" Obo,"— dry branches hung with bones and strips of cloth, and 
planted in enormous heaps of stones. Park, also, in Western Africa, 
conformed to the example of his companions, in adding a charm or 
shred of cloth on a tree (at the entrance of the Wilderness), which was 
completely covered with these guardian symbols. And, finally, the 
Tarikh Tabari mentions it as a practice of the Pagan Arabs, and 
talks of evil spirits residing in the date-tree. May not, then, the 
practice in Al-Islam be one of the many debris of fetish-worship 
which entered into the heterogeneous formation of the Saving Faith ? 
Some believe that the Prophet permitted the practice, and explain 
the peculiar name of the expedition called Zat al-Rika'a (place of 
shreds of cloth), by supposing it to be a term for a tree to which the 
Moslems hung their ex-voto rags. 

2 The saint lies under a little white-washed dome, springing from 
a square of low walls — a form of sepulchre now common to Al- 
Hijaz, Egypt, and the shores and islands of the Red Sea. As regards 
his name my informants told me it was that of a Hijazi Shaykh. The 
subject is by no means interesting ; but the exact traveller will find 
the word written Takroore, and otherwise explained by Sir Gardner 

3 Called by the Arabs Shih ( ^Ji,), which the dictionaries trans- 
late " wormwood of Pontus." We find Wallin in his works speaking 
of Ferashat al-shih, or wormwood carpets. 

156 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

a cocoa tree's, 1 the Badawin would not neglect it. We 
lay down upon the sand, to rest among a party of Magh- 
rabi pilgrims travelling to Suez. These wretches, who 
were about a dozen in number, appeared to be of the lowest 
class ; their garments consisted of a Burnus-cloak and a 
pair of sandals ; their sole weapon a long knife, and their 
only stock a bag of dry provisions. Each had his large 
wooden bowl, but none carried water with him. It was 
impossible to help pitying their state, nor could I eat, see- 
ing them hungry, thirsty, and way-worn. So Nassar 
served out about a pint of water and a little bread to each 
man. Then they asked for more. None was to be had, 
so they cried out that money would do as well. I had 
determined upon being generous to the extent of a few 
pence. Custom, as well as inclination, was in favour of 
the act ; but when the alms became a demand, and the 
demand was backed by fierce looks and a derisive sneer, 
and a kind of reference to their knives, gentle Charity 
took the alarm and fled. My pistols kept them at bay, 
for they were only making an attempt to intimidate, and, 
though I took the precaution of sitting apart from them, 
there was no real danger. The Suez road, by the wise 
regulations of Mohammed Ali, has become as safe to 
European travellers as that between Hampstead and 
Highgate ; and even Easterns have little to fear but what 
their fears create. My Indian servant was full of the 
dangers he had run, but I did not believe in them. I 
afterwards heard that the place where the Maghrabis 
attempted to frighten what they thought a timid Turk 
was notorious for plunder and murder. Here the spurs 
of two opposite hills almost meet upon the plain, a 
favourable ground for Badawi ambuscade. Of the Magh- 

1 We are told in verse of " a cocoa's feathery shade," and sous 
r ombre (Tun cocotier. But to realise the prose picture, let the home 
reader, choosing some sultry August day, fasten a large fan to a long 
pole, and enjoy himself under it. 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 157 

rabis I shall have more to say when relating my voyage 
in the Pilgrim Ship : they were the only travellers from 
whom we experienced the least annoyance. Numerous 
parties of Turks, Arabs, and Afghans, and a few East- 
Indians 1 were on the same errand as ourselves. All, as 
we passed them, welcomed us with the friendly saluta- 
tion that becomes men engaged in a labour of religion. 

About half an hour before sunset, I turned off the 
road leftwards ; and, under pretext of watering the drome- 
daries, rode up to inspect the fort Al-'Ajrudi. 2 It is a 
quadrangle with round towers at the gateway and at the 
corners, newly built of stone and mortar ; t^ie material is 
already full of crevices, and would not stand before a 
twelve-pounder. Without guns or gunners, it is occupied 
by about a dozen Fellahs, who act as hereditary 
" Ghafirs," (guardians) ; they were expecting at that 
time to be reinforced by a party of Bashi Buzuks — 
Irregulars from Cairo. The people of the country were 
determined that an English fleet would soon appear in 
the Red Sea, and this fort is by them ridiculously con- 
sidered the key of Suez. As usual in these Vauban- 

1 On a subsequent occasion, I met a party of Panjabis, who had 
walked from Meccah to Cairo in search of " Abu Tabilah," (General 
Avitabile), whom report had led to the banks of the Nile. Some 
were young, others had white beards — all were weary and wayworn ; 
but the saddest sight was an old woman, so decrepit that she could 
scarcely walk. The poor fellows were travelling. on foot, carrying 
their wallets, with a few pence in their pockets, utterly ignorant of 
route and road, and actually determined in this plight to make Lahore 
by Baghdad, Bushir, and Karachi. Such — so incredible — is Indian 
improvidence ! 

2 Upon this word Cacography has done her worst — " Haji Rood " 
may serve for a specimen. My informants told me that Al-'Ajrudi is 
the name of a Hijazi Shaykh whose mortal remains repose under a 
little dome near the fort. This, if it be true, completely nullifies the 
efforts of Etymology to discern in it a distinct allusion to " the over- 
throw of Pharaoh's chariots, whose Hebrew appellation, 'Ageloot,' 
bears some resemblance to this modern name." 

158 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

lacking lands, the well supplying the stronghold is in a 
detached and distant building, which can be approached 
by an enemy with the greatest security. Over the gate- 
way was an ancient inscription reversed ; the water was 
brackish, and of bad quality. 1 

We resumed our way : Suez now stood near. In the 
blue distance rose the castellated peaks of Jabal Rahah 
and the wide sand-tracts over which lies the land-route 
to Al-Hijaz. Before us the sight ever dear to English 
eyes, — a strip of sea gloriously azure, with a gallant 
steamer walking the waters. On the right-hand side the 
broad slopes of Jabal Mukattam, a range of hills which 
flanks the road all the way from Cairo. It was at this 
hour a spectacle not easily to be forgotten. The near 
range of chalk and sandstone wore a russet suit, gilt 
where the last rays of the sun seamed it with light, and 
the deep folds were shaded with the richest purple ; whilst 
the background of the higher hills, Jabal Tawari, gene- 
rally known as Abu Daraj (the Father of Steps), was 
sky-blue streaked with the lightest plum colour. We 
drew up at a small building called Bir Suways (Well of 
Suez) ; and, under pretext of watering the cattle, I sat for 
half an hour admiring the charms of the Desert. The 
eye never tires of such loveliness of hue, and the memory 
of the hideousness of this range, when a sun in front 
exposed each gaunt and barren feature, supplied the 
evening view with another element of attraction. 

It was already night when we passed through the 
tumbling six-windowed gateway of Suez ; and still re- 
mained the task of finding my servant and effects. After 

1 The only sweet water in Suez is brought on camel back from 
the Nile, across the Desert. The " Bir Suez " is fit for beasts only ; 
the 'Uyun Musa (Moses' Wells) on the Eastern side, and that below 
Abu Daraj, on the Western shore of the Suez Gulf, are but little 
better. The want of sweet water is the reason why no Hammam is 
found at Suez. 

VIII. — From Cairo to Suez. 159 

wandering in and out of every Wakalah in the village, 
during which peregrination the boy Mohammed proved 
himself so useful that I determined at all risks to make 
him my companion, we accidentally heard that a Hindi 
had taken lodgings at a hostelry bearing the name of 
Jirjis al-Zahr. 1 On arriving there our satisfaction was 
diminished by the intelligence that the same Hindi, after 
locking the door, had gone out with his friends to a ship 
in the harbour ; in fact, that he had made all preparations 
for running away. I dismounted, and tried to persuade 
the porter to break open the wooden bolt, but he abso- 
lutely refused, and threatened the police. Meanwhile 
Mohammed had found a party of friends, men of Al- 
Madinah, returning to the pilgrimage after a begging tour 
through Egypt and Turkey. The meeting was charac- 
terised by vociferous inquiries, loud guffaws and warm 
embraces. I was invited to share their supper and their 
dormitory, — an uncovered platform projecting from the 
gallery over the square court below, — but I had neither 
appetite nor spirits enough to be sociable. The porter, 
after much persuasion, showed me an empty room, in 
which I spread my carpet. That was a sad night. My 
eighty-four mile ride had made every bone ache ; I had 
lost epidermis, and the sun had seared every portion of 
skin exposed to it. So, lamenting my degeneracy and the 
ill effects of four years' domicile in Europe, and equally 
disquieted in mind about the fate of my goods and 
chattels, I fell into an uncomfortable sleep. 

1 The " George " : so called after its owner, a Copt, Consular 
Agent for Belgium. There are 36 Caravanserais at Suez, 33 small 
ones for merchandise, and 3 for travellers ; of these the best is that 
of Sayyid Hashim. The pilgrim, however, must not expect much 
comfort or convenience, even at Sayyid Hashim's. 




Early on the morning after my arrival, I arose, and 
consulted my new acquaintances about the means of 
recovering the missing property. They unanimously 
advised a visit to the governor, whom, however, they 
described to be a " Kalb ibn kalb," (dog, son of a dog,) 
who never returned Moslems' salutations, and who 
thought all men dirt to be trodden under foot by the 
Turks. The boy Mohammed showed his savoir faire by 
extracting from his huge Sahara-box a fine embroidered 
cap, and a grand peach-coloured coat, with which I was 
instantly invested ; he dressed himself with similar magnif- 
icence, and we then set out to the " palace." 

Ja'afar Bey, — he has since been deposed, — then occu- 
pied the position of judge, officer commanding, collector 
of customs, and magistrate of Suez. He was a Mir-liwa, 
or brigadier-general, and had some reputation as a 
soldier, together with a slight tincture of European 
science and language. The large old Turk received me 
most superciliously, disdained all return of salam, and, 
fixing upon me two little eyes like gimlets, demanded my 
business. I stated that one Shaykh Nur, my Hindi ser- 
vant, had played me false ; therefore I required permission 
to break into the room supposed to contain my effects. 
He asked my profession. I replied the medical. This 
led him to inquire if I had any medicine for the eyes, and 

IX. — Suez. 161 

being answered in the affirmative, he sent a messenger 
with me to enforce obedience on the part of the porter. 
The obnoxious measure was, however, unnecessary. As 
we entered the Caravanserai, there appeared at the door 
the black face of Shaykh Nur, looking, though accom- 
panied by sundry fellow-countrymen, uncommonly as if 
he merited and expected the bamboo. He had, by his 
own account, been seduced into the festivities of a coal- 
hulk, manned by Lascars, and the vehemence of his self- 
accusation saved him from the chastisement which I had 
determined to administer. 

I must now briefly describe the party of Meccah and 
Madinah men into which fate threw me : their names will 
so frequently appear in the following pages, that a few 
words about their natures will not be misplaced. 

First of all comes Omar Effendi, — so called in honour, 
— a Daghistani or East-Circassian, the grandson of a 
Hanafi Mufti at Al-Madinah, and the son of a Shaykh 
Rakb, an officer whose duty it is to lead dromedary-cara- 
vans. He sits upon his cot, a small, short, plump body, 
of yellow complexion and bilious temperament, grey-eyed, 
soft-featured, and utterly beardless,— which affects his 
feelings, — he looks fifteen, and he owns to twenty-eight. 
His manners are those of a student ; he dresses respect- 
ably, prays regularly, hates the fair sex, like an Arab, 
whose affections and aversions are always in extremes ; is 
" serious," has a mild demeanour, an humble gait, and a 
soft, slow voice. When roused he becomes furious as a 
Bengal tiger. His parents have urged him to marry, and 
he, like Kamar al-Zaman, has informed his father that he is 
" a person of great age, but little sense." Urged moreover 
by a melancholy turn of mind, and the want of leisure 
for study at Al-Madinah, he fled the paternal domicile, 
and entered himself a pauper Talib 'ilm (student) in the 
Azhar Mosque. His disconsolate friends and afflicted 
relations sent a confidential man to fetch him home, by 

VOL. I. n 

1 62 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

force should it be necessary ; he has yielded, and is now 
awaiting the first opportunity of travelling gratis, if pos- 
sible, to Al-Madinah. 

That confidential man is a negro-servant, called 
Sa'ad, notorious in his native city as Al-Jinni, the Demon. 
Born and bred a slave in Omar Effendi's family, he 
obtained manumission, became a soldier in Al-Hijaz, 
was dissatisfied with pay perpetually in arrears, turned 
merchant, and wandered far and wide, to Russia, to 
Gibraltar, and to Baghdad. He is the pure African, 
noisily merry at one moment, at another silently sulky; 
affectionate and abusive, brave and boastful, reckless and 
crafty, exceedingly quarrelsome, and unscrupulous to the 
last degree. The bright side of his character is his love 
and respect for the young master, Omar Effendi ; yet 
even him he will scold in a paroxysm of fury, and steal 
from him whatever he can lay his hands on. He is 
generous with his goods, but is ever borrowing and never 
paying money ; he dresses like a beggar, with the dirtiest 
Tarbush upon his tufty poll, and only a cotton shirt over 
his sooty skin ; whilst his two boxes are full of handsome 
apparel for himself and the three ladies, his wives, at Al- 
Madinah. He knows no fear but for those boxes. Fre- 
quently during our search for a vessel he forced himself 
into Ja'afar Bey's presence, and there he demeaned himself 
so impudently, that we expected to see him lamed by the 
bastinado ; his forwardness, however, only amused the 
dignitary. He wanders all day about the bazar, talking 
about freight and passage, for he has resolved, cost what 
it will, to travel free, and, with doggedness like his, he 
must succeed. 

Shaykh Hamid al-Samman derives his cognomen, 
the " Clarified-Butter-Seller," from a celebrated saint and 
Sufi of the Kadiriyah order, who left a long line of holy 
descendants at Al-Madinah. This Shaykh squats upon a 
box full of presents for the "daughter of his paternal uncle " 

IX.— Suez. 163 

(his wife), a perfect specimen of the town Arab. His poll 
is crowned with a rough Shushah or tuft of hair 1 ; 
his face is of a dirty brown, his little goatee straggles 
untrimmed ; his feet are bare, and his only garment is 
an exceedingly unclean ochre-coloured blouse, tucked 
into a leathern girdle beneath it. He will not pray, 
because he is unwilling to take pure clothes out of his 
box ; but he smokes when he can get other people's 
tobacco, and groans between the whiffs, conjugating the 
verb all day, for he is of active mind. He can pick out 
his letters, and he keeps in his bosom a little dog's-eared 
MS. full of serious romances and silly prayers, old and 
exceedingly ill written ; this he will draw forth at times, 
peep into for a moment, devoutly kiss, and restore to its 
proper place with the veneration of the vulgar for a 
book. He can sing all manner of songs, slaughter a 
sheep with dexterity, deliver a grand call to prayer, 
shave, cook, fight ; and he excels in the science of vitupera- 
tion : like Sa'ad, he never performs his devotions, except 

1 When travelling, the Shushah is allowed to spread over the 
greatest portion of the scalp, to act as a protection against the 
sun ; and the hair being shaved off about two inches all round the 
head, leaves a large circular patch. Nothing can be uglier than such 
tonsure, and it is contrary to the strict law of the Apostle, who 
ordered a clean shave, or a general growth of the hair. The Arab, 
however, knows by experience, that though habitual exposure of the 
scalp to a burning sun may harden the skull, it seldom fails to 
damage its precious contents. He, therefore, wears a Shushah dur- 
ing his wanderings, and removes it on his return home. Abu 
Hanifah, if I am rightly informed, wrote a treatise advocating 
the growth of a long lock of hair on the Nasiyah, or crown of 
the head, lest the decapitated Moslem's mouth or beard be exposed 
to defilement by an impure hand. This would justify the comparing 
it to the " chivalry-lock," by which the American brave facilitates 
the removal of his own scalp. But I am at a loss to discover the 
origin of our old idea, that the " angel of death will, on the last day, 
bear all true believers, by this important tuft of hair on the crown, 
to Paradise." Probably this office has been attributed to the Shushah 
by the ignorance of the West. 

164 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

when necessary to " keep up appearances," and though 
he has sworn to perish before he forgets his vow to the 
" daughter of his uncle," I shrewdly suspect he is no 
better than he should be. His brow crumples at the 
word wine, but there is quite another expression about 
the region of the mouth ; Stambul, where he has lived 
some months, without learning ten words of Turkish, is 
a notable place for displacing prejudice. And finally, he 
has not more than a piastre or two in his pocket, for he 
has squandered the large presents given to him at Cairo 
and Constantinople by noble ladies, to whom he acted as 
master of the ceremonies at the tomb of the Apostle. 

Stretched on a carpet, smoking a Persian Kaliun 
all day, lies Salih Shakkar, a Turk on the father's, and 
an Arab on the mother's side, born at Al-Madinah. This 
lanky youth may be sixteen years old, but he has the 
ideas of forty-six ; he is thoroughly greedy, selfish, and un- 
generous ; coldly supercilious as a Turk, and energetically 
avaricious as an Arab. He prays more often, and dresses 
more respectably, than the descendant of the Clarified- 
Butter-Seller ; he affects the Constantinople style of 
toilette, and his light yellow complexion makes people con- 
sider him a " superior person." We were intimate 
enough on the road, when he borrowed from me a little 
money. But at Al-Madinah he cut me pitilessly, as a 
" town man " does a continental acquaintance accidentally 
met in Hyde Park ; and of course he tried, though in vain, 
to evade repaying his debt. He had a tincture of letters, 
and appeared to have studied critically the subject of 
" largesse." " The Generous is Allah's friend, aye, though 
he be a Sinner, and the Miser is Allah's Foe, aye, though 
he be a Saint," was a venerable saying always in his 
mouth. He also informed me that Pharaoh, although 
the quintessence of impiety, is mentioned by name in the 
Koran, by reason of his liberality ; whereas Nimrod, 
another monster of iniquity, is only alluded to, because 

IX. — Suez. 165 

he was a stingy tyrant. It is almost needless to declare 
that Salih Shakkar was, as the East-Indians say, a very 
"fly-sucker. 1 " There were two other men of Al-Madinah 
in the Wakalah Jirgis ; but I omit description, as we left 
them, they being penniless, at Suez. One of them, Mo- 
hammed Shiklibha, I afterwards met at Meccah, and 
seldom have I seen a more honest and warm-hearted 
fellow. When we were embarking at Suez, he fell upon 
Hamid's bosom, and both of them wept bitterly, at the 
prospect of parting even for a few days. 

All the individuals above mentioned lost no time in 
opening the question of a loan. It was a lesson in 
Oriental metaphysics to see their condition. They had a 
twelve days' voyage, and a four days' journey before 
them ; boxes to carry, custom-houses to face, and 
stomachs to fill ; yet the whole party could scarcely, I 
believe, muster two dollars of ready money. Their boxes 
were full of valuables, arms, clothes, pipes, slippers, 
sweetmeats, and other " notions " ; but nothing short of 
starvation would have induced them to pledge the smallest 

Foreseeing that their company would be an ad- 
vantage, I hearkened favourably to the honeyed request 
for a few crowns. The boy Mohammed obtained six 
dollars ; Hamid about five pounds, as I intended to 
make his house at Al-Madinah my home ; Omar Effendi 
three dollars ; Sa'ad the Demon two — I gave the money to 
him at Yambu', — and Salih Shakkar fifty piastres. But 
since in these lands, as a rule, no one ever lends coins, 
or, borrowing, ever returns them, I took care to exact 
service from the first, to take two rich coats from the 
second, a handsome pipe from the third, a " bala " or 
yataghan from the fourth, and from the fifth an imitation 
Cashmere shawl. After which, we sat down and drew 

1 " Makhi-chus," equivalent to our " skin-flint." 

1 66 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

out the agreement. It was favourable to me : I lent 
them Egyptian money, and bargained for repayment in 
the currency of Al-Hijaz, thereby gaining the exchange, 
which is sometimes sixteen per cent. This was done, 
not so much for the sake of profit, as with the view of 
becoming a Hatim, 1 by a " never mind " on settling day. 
My companions having received these small sums, became 
affectionate and eloquent in my praise : they asked me to 
make one of their number at meals for the future, over- 
whelmed me with questions, insisted upon a present of 
sweetmeats, detected in me a great man under a cloud, — 
perhaps my claims to being a Darwaysh assisted them to 
this discovery, — and declared that I should perforce be 
their guest at Meccah and Al-Madinah. On all occasions 
precedence was forced upon me ; my opinion was the first 
consulted, and no project was settled without my con- 
currence : briefly, Abdullah the Darwaysh suddenly found 
himself a person of consequence. This elevation led me 
into an imprudence which might have cost me dear ; 
aroused the only suspicion about me ever expressed 
during the summer's tour. My friends had looked at my 
clothes, overhauled my medicine chest, and criticised my 
pistols ; they sneered at my copper-cased watch, 2 and 
remembered having seen a compass at Constantinople. 
Therefore I imagined they would think little about a 
sextant. This was a mistake. The boy Mohammed, I 

i A well-known Arab chieftain, whose name has come to stand 
for generosity itself. 

2 This being an indispensable instrument for measuring distances, 
I had it divested of gold case, and provided with a facing carefully 
stained and figured with Arabic numerals. In countries where few 
can judge of a watch by its works, it is as well to secure its safety by 
making the exterior look as mean as possible. The watches worn by 
respectable people in Al-Hijaz are almost always old silver pieces, of 
the turnip shape, with hunting cases and an outer etui of thick leather. 
Mostly they are of Swiss or German manufacture, and they find 
their way into Arabia via Constantinople and Cairo. 

IX. — Suez. 167 

afterwards learned, 1 waited only my leaving the room to 
declare that the would-be Haji was one of the Infidels 
from India, and a council sat to discuss the case. For- 
tunately for me, Omar Effendi had looked over a letter 
which I had written to Haji Wali that morning, and he 
had at various times received categorical replies to certain 
questions in high theology. He felt himself justified in 
declaring, ex cathedra, the boy Mohammed's position per- 
fectly untenable. And Shaykh Hamid, who looked 
forward to being my host, guide, and debtor in general, 
and probably cared scantily for catechism or creed, swore 
that the light of Al- Islam was upon my countenance, 
and, consequently, that the boy Mohammed was a pauper, 
a " fakir," an owl, a cut-off one, 2 a stranger, and a Wah- 
habi (heretic), for daring to impugn the faith of a brother 
believer/ 5 The scene ended with a general abuse of the 
acute youth, who was told on all sides that he had no 
shame, and was directed to "fear Allah." I was struck 
with the expression of my friends' countenances when 
they saw the sextant, and, determining with a sigh to 

1 On my return to Cairo, Omar Effendi, whom I met accidentally 
in the streets, related the story to me. I never owned having played 
a part, to avoid shocking his prejudices ; and though he must have 
suspected me, — for the general report was, that an Englishman, dis- 
guised as a Persian, had performed the pilgrimage, measured the 
country, and sketched the buildings, — he had the gentlemanly feeling 
never to allude to the past. We parted, when I went to India, on 
the best of terms. 

2 Munkati'a — one cut off (from the pleasures and comforts of 
life). In Al-Hijaz, as in England, any allusion to poverty is highly 

3 The Koran expressly forbids a Moslem to discredit the word of 
any man who professes his belief in the Saving Faith. The greatest 
offence of the Wahhabis is their habit of designating all Moslems 
that belong to any but their own sect by the opprobrious name of 
Kafirs or infidels. This, however, is only the Koranic precept ; in 
practice a much less trustful spirit prevails. 

1 68 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

leave it behind, I prayed five times a day for nearly a 

We all agreed not to lose an hour in securing places 
on board some vessel bound for Yambu' ; and my com- 
panions, hearing that my passport as a British Indian 
was scarcely en regie, earnestly advised me to have it 
signed by the governor without delay, whilst they occupied 
themselves about the harbour. They warned me that if 
I displayed the Turkish Tazkirah given me at the citadel 
of Cairo, I should infallibly be ordered to await the cara- 
van, and lose their society and friendship. Pilgrims 
arriving at Alexandria, be it known to the reader, are 
divided into bodies, and distributed by means of passports 
to the three great roads, namely, Suez, Kusayr (Cosseir), 
and the Hajj route by land round the Gulf of al-'Akabah. 
After the division has once been made, government turns 
a deaf ear to the representations of individuals. The Bey 
of Suez has an order to obstruct pilgrims as much as 
possible till the end of the season, when they are hurried 
down that way, lest they should arrive at Meccah too 
late. 1 As most of the Egyptian high officials have boats, 
which sail up the Nile laden with pilgrims and return 
freighted with corn, the government naturally does its 
utmost to force the delays and discomforts of this line 
upon strangers. 2 And as those who travel by the Hajj 
route must spend money in the Egyptian territories at 
least fifteen days longer than they would if allowed to 

i Towards the end of the season, poor pilgrims are forwarded 
gratis, by order of government. But, to make such liberality as 
inexpensive as possible, the Pasha compels ship-owners to carry one 
pilgrim per 9 ardebs (about 5 bushels each), in small, and 1 per 11 in 
large vessels. 

2 I was informed by a Prussian gentleman, holding an official 
appointment under His Highness the Pasha, at Cairo, that 300,000 
ardebs of grain were annually exported from Kusayr to Jeddah. 
The rest is brought down the Nile for consumption in Lower Egypt, 
and export to Europe. 

IX. — Suez. 169 

embark at once from Suez, the Bey very properly 
assists them in the former and obstructs them in the 
latter case. Knowing these facts, I felt that a difficulty 
was at hand. The first thing was to take Shaykh Nur's 
passport, which was en regie, and my own, which was not, 
to the Bey for signature. He turned the papers over and 
over, as if unable to read them, and raised false hopes 
high by referring me to his clerk. The under-official at 
once saw the irregularity of the document, asked me why 
it had not been vise at Cairo, swore that under such 
circumstances nothing would induce the Bey to let me 
proceed ; and, when I tried persuasion, waxed insolent. 
I feared that it would be necessary to travel via Cosseir, 
for which there was scarcely time, or to transfer myself 
on camel-back to the harbour of Tur, and there to await 
the chance of finding a place in some half-filled vessel to 
Al-Hijaz, — which would have been relying upon an acci- 
dent. My last hope at Suez was to obtain assistance 
from Mr. West, then H.B.M.'s Vice-Consul, and since 
made Consul. I therefore took the boy Mohammed with 
me, choosing him on purpose, and excusing the step to 
my companions by concocting an artful fable about my 
having been, in Afghanistan, a benefactor to the British 
nation. We proceeded to the Consulate. Mr. West, who 
had been told by imprudent Augustus Bernal to expect 
me, saw through the disguise, despite jargon assumed to 
satisfy official scruples, and nothing could be kinder than 
the part he took. His clerk was directed to place himself 
in communication with the Bey's factotum ; and, when ob- 
jections to signing the Alexandrian Tazkirah were offered, 
the Vice-Consul said that he would, at his own risk, give 
me a fresh passport as a British subject from Suez to 
Arabia. His firmness prevailed : on the second day, 
the documents were returned to me in a satisfactory 
state. I take a pleasure in owning this obligation to 
Mr. West : in the course of my wanderings, I have often 

170 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

received from him open-hearted hospitality and the most 
friendly attentions. 

Whilst these passport difficulties were being solved, 
the rest of the party was as busy in settling about pas- 
sage and passage-money. The peculiar rules of the port 
of Suez require a few words of explanation. 1 " About 
thirty-five years ago " (i.e. about 1818 a.d.), "the ship- 
owners proposed to the then government, with the view 
of keeping up freight, a Farzah, or system of rotation. 
It might be supposed that the Pasha, whose object noto- 
riously was to retain all monoplies in his own hands, 
would have refused his sanction to such a measure. But 
it so happened in those days that all the court had ships 
at Suez : Ibrahim Pasha alone owned four or five. 
Consequently, they expected to share profits with the 
merchants, and thus to be compensated for the want of 
port-dues. From that time forward all the vessels in the 
harbour were registered, and ordered to sail in rotation. 
This arrangement benefits the owner of the craft 'en 
depart,' giving him in his turn a temporary monopoly, 
with the advantage of a full market ; and freight is so 
high that a single trip often clears off the expense of 
building and the risk of losing the ship — a sensible succe- 
daneum for insurance companies. On the contrary, the 
public must always be a loser by the 'Farzah.' Two of 
a trade do not agree elsewhere ; but at Suez even the 
Christian and the Moslem shipowner are bound by a 
fraternal tie, in the shape of this rotation system. It injures 
the general merchant and the Red Sea trader, not only by 

1 The account here offered to the reader was kindly supplied to 
me by Henry Levick, Esq. (late Vice-Consul, and afterwards Post- 
master at Suez), and it may be depended upon, as coming from a 
resident of 16 years' standing. All the passages marked with in- 
verted commas are extracts from a letter with which that gentleman 
favoured me. The information is obsolete now, but it may be 
interesting as a specimen of the things that were. 

IX. — Suez. 171 

perpetuating high freight, 1 but also by causing at one 
period of the year a break in the routine of sales and in the 
supplies of goods for the great Jeddah market. 2 At this 
moment (Nov. 1853), the vessel to which the turn belongs 
happens to be a large one ; there is a deficiency of export 
to Al-Hijaz, — her owner will of course wait any length of 
time for a full cargo ; consequently no vessel with mer- 
chandise has left Suez for the last seventy-two days. Those 
who have bought goods for the Jeddah market at three 
months' credit will therefore have to meet their acceptances 
for merchandise still warehoused at the Egyptian port. 
This strange contrast to free-trade principle is another 
proof that protection benefits only one party, the pro- 
tected, while it is detrimental to the interests of the other 
party, the public." To these remarks of Mr. Levick's, I 
have only to add that the government supports the Farzah 
with all the energy of protectionists. A letter from Mr. 
(now Sir) John Drummond Hay was insufficient to induce 
the Bey of Suez to break through the rule of rotation in 
favour of certain princes from Morocco. The recom- 
mendations of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe met with no 
better fate ; and all Mr. West's good will could not pro- 

1 The rate of freight is at present (1853) about forty shillings per 
ton — very near the same paid by the P. and O. Company for coals 
carried from Newcastle via the Cape to Suez. Were the " Farzah" 
abolished, freight to Jeddah would speedily fall to 15 or 16 shillings 
per ton. Passengers from Suez to Jeddah are sometimes charged 
as much as 6 or even 8 dollars for standing room — personal baggage 
forming another pretext for extortion — and the higher orders of 
pilgrims, occupying a small portion of the cabin, pay about 12 dollars. 
These first and second class fares would speedily be reduced, by 
abolishing protection, to 3 and 6 dollars. Note to Second Edition. — 
The " Farzah," I may here observe, has been abolished by Sa'id 
Pasha since the publication of these lines : the effects of "free trade " 
are exactly what were predicted by Mr. Levick. 

2 The principal trade from Suez is to Jeddah, Kusayr supplying 
Yambu'. The latter place, however, imports from Suez wheat, 
beans, cheese, biscuit, and other provisions for return pilgrims. 

172 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

cure me a vessel out of her turn. 1 We were forced to 
rely upon our own exertions, and the activity of Sa'ad 
the Demon. This worthy, after sundry delays and differ- 
ences, mostly caused by his own determination to travel 
gratis, and to make us pay too much, finally closed with 
the owner of the " Golden Thread. 2 " He took places for 
us upon the poop, — the most eligible part of the vessel at 
this season of the year ; he premised that we should not 
be very comfortable, as we were to be crowded with 
Maghrabi pilgrims, but that " Allah makes all things 
easy ! " Though not penetrated with the conviction that 
this would happen in our case, I paid for two deck 
passages eighteen Riyals :! (dollars), and my companions 
seven each, whilst Sa'ad secretly entered himself as an able 
seaman. Mohammed Shiklibha we were obliged to leave 
behind, as he could not, or might not afford the expense, 
and none of us might afford it for him. Had I known 
him to be the honest, true-hearted fellow he was — his 
kindness at Meccah quite won my heart — I should not 
have grudged the small charity. 

1 My friends were strenuous in their exertions for me to make 
interest with Mr. West. In the first place, we should have paid less 
for the whole of a privileged vessel, than we did for our wretched 
quarters on the deck of the pilgrim-ship ; and, secondly, we might 
have touched at any port we pleased, so as to do a little business in 
the way of commerce. 

2 Afterwards called by Sir R. F. Burton the "Golden Wire." 

3 For the " Sath," or poop, the sum paid by each was seven 
Riyals. I was, therefore, notably cheated by Sa'ad the Demon. The 
unhappy women in the " Kamrah," or cabin, bought suffocation at 
the rate of 6 dollars each, as I was afterwards informed, and the 
third class, in the " Taht," or amidships and forward, contributed 
from 3 to 5 Riyals. But, as usual on these occasions, there was no 
prix fixe ; every man was either overcharged or undercharged, 
according to his means or his necessities. We had to purchase our 
own water, but the ship was to supply us with fuel for cooking. We 
paid nothing extra for luggage, and we carried an old Maghrabi 
woman gratis for good luck. 

JX. — Suez. 173 

Nothing more comfortless than our days and nights 
in the " George " Inn. The ragged walls of our rooms 
were clammy with dirt, the smoky rafters foul with cob- 
webs, and the floor, bestrewed with kit, in terrible con- 
fusion, was black with hosts of cockroaches, ants, and flies. 
Pigeons nestled on the shelf, cooing amatory ditties the 
live-long day, and cats like tigers crawled through a hole 
in the door, making night hideous with their caterwaul- 
ings. Now a curious goat, then an inquisitive jackass, 
would walk stealthily into the room, remark that it was 
tenanted, and retreat with dignified demeanour, and the 
mosquitos sang Io Paeans over our prostrate forms 
throughout the twenty-four hours. I spare the reader the 
enumeration of the other Egyptian plagues that infested 
the place. After the first day's trial, we determined to 
spend the hours of light in the passages, lying upon our 
boxes or rugs, smoking, wrangling, and inspecting one 
another's chests. The latter occupation was a fertile 
source of disputes, for nothing was more common than 
for a friend to seize an article belonging to another, and 
to swear by the Apostle's beard that he admired it, and, 
therefore, would not return it. The boy Mohammed and 
Shaykh Nur, who had been intimates the first day, 
differed in opinion on the second, and on the third came 
to pushing each other against the wall. Sometimes we 
went into the Bazar, a shady street flanked with poor little 
shops, or we sat in the coffee-house, 1 drinking hot saltish 
water tinged with burnt bean, or we prayed in one of 
three tumble-down old Mosques, or we squatted upon the 
pier, lamenting the want of Hammams, and bathing in 
the tepid sea. 2 I presently came to the conclusion that 

1 We were still at Suez, where we could do as we pleased. But 
respectable Arabs in their own country, unlike Egyptians, are seldom 
to be seen in the places of public resort. "Go to the coffee-house 
and sing there!" is a reproach sometimes addressed to those who 
have a habit of humming in decent society. 

2 It was only my prestige as physician that persuaded my friend 

174 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Suez as a "watering-place " is duller even than Dover. The 
only society we found, excepting an occasional visitor, 
was that of a party of Egyptian women, who with their 
husbands and families occupied some rooms adjoining 
ours. At first they were fierce, and used bad language, 
when the boy Mohammed and I, — whilst Omar Effendi 
was engaged in prayer, and the rest were wandering about 
the town, — ventured to linger in the cool passage, where 
they congregated, or to address a facetious phrase to them. 
But hearing that I was a Hakim-bashi — for fame had 
promoted me to the rank of a "Physician General" at Suez 
— all discovered some ailments. They began prudently 
with requesting me to display the effects of my drugs by 
dosing myself, but they ended submissively by swallow- 
ing the nauseous compounds. To this succeeded a 
primitive form of flirtation, which mainly consisted of the 
demand direct. The most charming of the party was one 
Fattumah 1 , a plump-personed dame, fast verging upon 
her thirtieth year, fond of a little flattery, and possessing, 
like all her people, a most voluble tongue. The refrain 
of every conversation was " Marry me, O Fattumah ! O 
daughter ! O female pilgrim !" In vain the lady would 
reply, with a coquettish movement of the sides, a toss 
of the head, and a flirting manipulation of her head-veil, 

to join me in these bathings. As a general rule, the Western Arabs 
avoid cold water, from a belief that it causes fever. When Mr. C. 
Cole, H.B.M.'s Vice-Consul, arrived at Jeddah, the people of the 
place, seeing that he kept up his Indian habits, advised him strongly 
to drop them. He refused ; but unhappily he soon caught a fever, 
which confirmed them all in their belief. When Arabs wish to cool 
the skin after a journey, they wash with a kind of fuller's earth called 
" Tafl," or with a thin paste of henna, and then anoint the body 
with oil or butter. 

i An incrementative form of the name " Fatimah," very common 
in Egypt. Fatimah would mean a " weaner " — Fattumah, a " great 
weaner." By the same barbarism Khadijah becomes " Khaddugah" ; 
Aminah, "Ammunah" ; and Nafisah, " Naffusah," on the banks of the 

IX. — Suez. 175 

" I am mated, O young man !" — it was agreed that she, 
being a person of polyandrous propensities, could support 
the weight of at least three matrimonial engagements. 
Sometimes the entrance of the male Fellahs 1 interrupted 
these little discussions, but people of our respectability 
and nation were not to be imposed upon by such hus- 
bands. In their presence we only varied the style of 
conversation — inquiring the amount of "Mahr," or 
marriage settlement, deriding the cheapness of woman- 
hood in Egypt, and requiring to be furnished on the spot 
with brides at the rate of ten shillings a head.' 2 More 
often the amiable Fattumah— the fair sex in this country, 
though passing frail, have the best tempers in the world — 
would laugh at our impertinences. Sometimes vexed by 
our imitating her Egyptian accent, mimicking her ges- 
tures, and depreciating her country-women, 3 she would 
wax wroth, and order us to be gone, and stretch out her 
forefinger— a sign that she wished to put out our eyes, or 
adjure Allah to cut the hearts out of our bosoms. Then 

1 The palmy days of the Egyptian husband, when he might use 
the stick, the sword, or the sack with impunity, are, in civilised places 
at least, now gone by. The wife has only to complain to the Kazi, 
or to the governor, and she is certain of redress. This is right in 
the abstract, but in practice it acts badly. The fair sex is so unruly 
in this country, that strong measures are necessary to coerce it, and 
in the arts of deceit men have here little or no chance against 
women . 

2 The amount of settlement being, among Moslems as among 
Christians, the test of a bride's value, — moral and physical, — it will 
readily be understood that our demand was more facetious than 

3 The term Misriyah (an Egyptian woman) means in Al-Hijaz 
and the countries about it, a depraved character. Even the men 
own unwillingly to being Egyptians, for the free-born never forget 
that the banks of the Nile have for centuries been ruled by the slaves 
of slaves. " He shall be called an Egyptian," is a denunciation which 
has been strikingly fulfilled, though the country be no longer the 
"basest of kingdoms." 

176 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the " Marry me, O Fattumah, O daughter, O female 
pilgrim !" would give way to Y'al Ago-o-oz ! (O old woman 
and decrepit !) "O daughter of sixty sires, and fit only to 
carry wood to market !" — whereupon would burst a storm 
of wrath, at the tail of which all of us, like children, 
starting upon our feet, rushed out of one another's way. 
But — " qui se dispute, s' adore" — when we again met all 
would be forgotten, and the old tale be told over de novo. 
This was the amusement of the day. At night we men, 
assembling upon the little terrace, drank tea, recited 
stories, read books, talked of our travels, and indulged 
in various pleasantries. The great joke was the boy 
Mohammed's abusing all his companions to their faces 
in Hindustani, which none but Shaykh Nur and I could 
understand ; the others, however, guessed his intention, 
and revenged themselves by retorts of the style un- 
courteous in the purest Hijazi. 

I proceed to offer a few more extracts from Mr. 
Levick's letter about Suez and the Suezians. " It appears 
that the number of pilgrims who pass through Suez to 
Meccah has of late been steadily on the decrease. When 
I first came here (in 1838) the pilgrims who annually em- 
barked at this port amounted to between 10,000 and 
12,000, the shipping was more numerous, and the mer- 
chants were more affluent. 1 I have ascertained from a 
special register kept in the government archives that in 
the Moslem year ^GSJ^jx^iS^i-^) the exact number 
that passed through was 4893." 

" In 1269 a. h. (a.d. 1852-53) it had shrunk to 3136. 
The natives assign the falling off to various causes, which 

1 In those days merchants depended solely upon the native trade 
and the passage of pilgrims. The pecuniary advantage attending 
what is called the Overland transit benefits chiefly the lowest orders, 
camel-men, sailors, porters, and others of the same class. Sixteen 
years ago the hire of a boat from the harbour to the roadstead was a 
piastre and a half : now it is at least five. 

IX.— Suez. 177 

I attribute chiefly to the indirect effect of European 
civilisation upon the Moslem powers immediately in 
contact with it. The heterogeneous mass of pilgrims 
is composed of people of all classes, colours, and cos- 
tumes. One sees among them, not only the natives of 
countries contiguous to Egypt, but also a large proportion 
of Central Asians from Bokhara, Persia, Circassia, 
Turkey, and the Crimea, who prefer this route by way of 
Constantinople to the difficult, expensive and dangerous 
caravan-line through the Desert from Damascus and 
Baghdad. The West sends us Moors, Algerines, and 
Tunisians, and Inner Africa a mass of sable Takrouri, 1 
and others from Bornou, the Sudan, 2 Ghadamah near the 
Niger, and Jabarti from the Habash. 3 " 

"The Suez ship-builders are an influential body of 
men, originally Candiots and Alexandrians. When Mo- 
hammed Ali fitted out his fleet for the Hijaz war, he 
transported a number of Greeks to Suez, and the children 
now exercise their fathers' craft. There are at present 
three great builders at this place. Their principal diffi- 

1 This word, says Mansfield Parkyns (Life in Abyssinia), is applied 
to the wandering pilgrim from Darfur, Dar Borghu, Bayarimah, 
Fellatah, and Western Africa. He mentions, however, a tribe called 
" Tokrouri," settled in Abyssinia near Nimr's country, but he does 
not appear to know that the ancient Arab settlement in Western 
Africa, "Al-Takrur," (Sakatu ?) which has handed down its name to 
a large posterity of small kingdoms, will be found in Al-Idrisi (1. 
climate, 1. section,) ; but I do not agree with the learned translator 
in writing the word " Tokrour." Burckhardt often alludes in his 
benevolent way to the " respectable and industrious Tekrourys." 
I shall have occasion to mention them at a future time. 

2 The Sudan (Blackland) in Arabia is applied to Upper Nubia, 
Senaar, Kordofan, and the parts adjacent. 

3 Not only in Ghiz, but also in Arabic, the mother of Ghiz, the 
word " Habash," whence our " Abyssinians," means a rabble, a 
mixture of people. Abyssinian Moslems are called by the Arabs 
" Jabarti." 

VOL. I. 12 

178 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

culty is the want of material. Teak comes from India 1 
via Jeddah, and Venetian boards, owing to the expense of 
camel-transport, are a hundred per cent, dearer here than 
at Alexandria. Trieste and Turkey supply spars, and 
Jeddah canvas : the sail-makers are Suez men, and the 
crews a mongrel mixture of Arabs and Egyptians ; the 
Rais, or captain, being almost invariably, if the vessel be 
a large one, a Yambu' man. There are two kinds of 
craft, distinguished from each other by tonnage, not by 
build. The Baghlah' 2 (buggalow), is a vessel above fifty 
tons burden, the Sambuk (a classical term) from fifteen to 
fifty. The shipowner bribes the Amir al-Bahr, or port- 
captain, and the Nazir al-Safayn, or the captain com- 
manding the government vessels, to rate his ship as high 
as possible ; if he pay the price, he will be allowed nine 
ardebs to the ton. 8 The number of ships belonging to 
the port of Suez amounts to 92 ; they vary from 25 to 
250 tons. The departures in a.h. 1269 (1852 and 1853) 
were 38, so that each vessel, after returning from a trip, 
is laid up for about two years. Throughout the passage 
of the pilgrims, — that is to say, during four months, — the 
departures average twice a week ; during the remainder 
of the year from six to ten vessels may leave the port. 
The homeward trade is carried on principally in Jeddah 
bottoms, which are allowed to convey goods to Suez, 
but not to take in return cargo there : they must not 
interfere with, nor may they partake in any way of the 
benefits of the rotation system. 4 " 

1 There is no such thing as a tree, except the date, the tamarisk, 
and the mimosa on the western shores of the Red Sea. 

2 This word, which in Arabic is the feminine form of " Baghl," 
a mule, is in Egypt, as in India, pronounced and written by foreigners 
" buggalow." Some worthy Anglo-Indians have further corrupted it 
to " bungalow." 

3 " The ardeb, like most measures in this country of commercial 
confusion, varies greatly according to the grain for which it is used. 
As a general rule, it may be assumed at 300 lbs." 

4 Return Arab boats, at any but the pilgrim season, with little 

IX. — Suez, 1 79 

" During the present year the imports were contained 
in 41,395 packages, the exports in 15,988. Specie makes 
up in some manner for this preponderance of imports : a 
sum of from £"30,000 to £"40,000, in crown, or Maria 
Theresa, dollars annually leaves Egypt for Arabia, 
Abyssinia, and other parts of Africa. I value the im- 
ports at about £"350,000 ; the export trade to Jeddah at 
£"300,000 per annum. The former consists principally of 
coffee and gum-arabic ; of these there were respectively 
17,460 and 15,132 bales, the aggregate value of each 
article being from £"75,000 to £"80,000, and the total 
amount £"160,000. In the previous year the imports were 
contained in 36,840 packages, the exports in 13,498 : of 
the staple articles — coffee and gum-arabic — they were 
respectively 15,499 and 14,129 bales, each bale being 
valued at about £"5. Next in importance comes wax from 
Al-Yaman and the Hijaz, mother-of-pearl 1 from the Red 
Sea, sent to England in rough, pepper from Malabar, 
cloves brought by Moslem pilgrims from Java, Borneo, 
and Singapore, 2 cherry pipe-sticks from Persia and 
Bussora, and Persian or Surat ' Timbak ' (tobacco). These 
I value at £"20,000 per annum. There were also (a.d. 
1853) °f cloves 708 packages, and of Malabar pepper 
948 : the cost of these two might be £"7,000. Minor 
articles of exportation are, — general spiceries (ginger, car- 
difficulty obtain permission to carry passengers, but not cargo. Two 
gentlemen, in whose pleasant society I once travelled from Cairo to 
Suez, — M. Charles Didier and the Abbe Hamilton, — paid the small 
sum of 1000 piastres, (say £10) for the whole of a moderate sized 
" Sambuk " returning to Jeddah. 

1 Mother-of-pearl is taken to Jerusalem, and there made into 
chaplets, saints' figures, and crucifixes for Christian pilgrims. At 
Meccah it is worked into rosaries for the Hajis. In Europe, cabinet 
and ornamental work cause a considerable demand for it. Some 
good pearls are procurable in the Red Sea. I have seen a drop of 
fair size and colour sold for seven dollars. 

2 I was told at Meccah that the pilgrimage is attended by about 
2000 natives of Java and the adjoining islands. 

180 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

damoms, &c.) ; Eastern perfumes, such as aloes-wood, 
attar of rose, attar of pink and others ; tamarinds from 
India and Al-Yaman, Banca tin, hides supplied by the 
nomade Badawin, senna leaves from Al-Yaman and the 
Hijaz, and blue chequered cotton Malayahs (women's 
mantillas), manufactured in southern Arabia. The total 
value of these smaller imports may be ^"20,000 per 

" The exports chiefly consist of English and native 
'grey domestics,' bleached Madipilams, Paisley lappets, 
and muslins for turbands ; the remainder being Manchester 
prints, antimony, Syrian soap, iron in bars, and common 
ironmongery, Venetian or Trieste beads, used as orna- 
ments in Arabia and Abyssinia, writing paper, Tar- 
bushes, Papushes (slippers), and other minor articles of 
dress and ornament." 

" The average annual temperature of the year at 
Suez is 67 Fahrenheit. The extremes of heat and cold 
are found in January and August ; during the former 
month the thermometer ranges from a minimum of 38 to 
a maximum of 68° ; during the latter the variation extends 
from 68° to 102 , or even to 104 , when the heat becomes 
oppressive. Departures from these extremes are rare. 
I never remember to have seen the thermometer rise 
above 108 during the severest Khamsin, or to have sunk 
below 34 in the rawest wintry wind. Violent storms 
come up from the south in March. Rain is very variable 1 : 

1 The following popular puerilities will serve to show how fond 
barbarians are of explaining the natural by the supernatural. The 
Moslems of Egypt thus account for the absence of St. Swithin from 
their drought-stricken lands. When Jacob lost his Benjamin, he 
cursed the land of Misraim, declaring that it should know no rain ; 
Joseph on the other hand blessed it, asserting that it should never 
want water. So the Sind Hindus believe that Hiranyakasipu, the 
demon-tyrant of Multan, finding Magha-Raj a (the Cloud King) trouble- 
some in his dominions, bound him with chains, and only released him 
upon his oath not to trouble the Unhappy Valley with his presence. 

IX. — Suez* 181 

sometimes three years have passed without a shower, 
whereas in 1841 torrents poured for nine successive days, 
deluging the town, and causing many buildings to fall." 

" The population of Suez now numbers about 4,800. 
As usual in Mohammedan countries no census is taken 
here. Some therefore estimate the population at 6,000. 
Sixteen years ago it was supposed to be under 3,000. 
After that time it rapidly increased till 1850, when a fatal 
attack of cholera reduced it to about half its previous 
number. The average mortality is about twelve a month. 1 
The endemic diseases are fevers of typhoid and inter- 
mittent types in spring, when strong northerly winds 
cause the waters of the bay to recede, 2 and leave a 
miasma-breeding swamp exposed to the rays of the sun. 
In the months of October and November febrile attacks 
are violent ; ophthalmia more so. The eye-disease is not 
so general here as at Cairo, but the symptoms are more 
acute ; in some years it becomes a virulent epidemic, 
which ends either in total blindness or in a partial 
opacity of the cornea, inducing dimness of vision, and a 
permanent weakness of the eyes. In one month three of 
my acquaintances lost their sight. Dysenteries are also 
common, and so are bad boils, or rather ulcers. The 
cold season is not unwholesome, and at this period the 

I would suggest to those Egyptian travellers who believe that the fall 
of rain has been materially increased at Cairo of late, by plantations 
of trees, to turn over the volumes of their predecesors ; they will find 
almost every one complaining of the discomforts of rain. In Sind 
it appears certain that during the last few years there has been at 
times almost a monsoon ; this novel phenomenon the natives attribute 
to the presence of their conquerors, concerning whom it cannot be 
said that they have wooded the country to any extent. 

1 This may appear a large mortality ; but at Alexandria it is said 
the population is renewed every fourteen years. 

2 During these North winds the sandy bar is exposed, and allows 
men to cross, which may explain the passage of the Israelites, for 
those who do not believe the Legend to be a Myth. Similarly at Jed- 
dah, the bars are covered during the South and bare during the North 

1 82 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

pure air of the Desert restores and invigorates the heat- 
wasted frame." 

" The walls, gates, and defences of Suez are in a 
ruinous state, being no longer wanted to keep out the 
Sinaitic Badawin. The houses are about 500 in number, 
but many of the natives prefer occupying the upper 
stories of the Wakalahs, the rooms on the ground floor 
serving for stores to certain merchandise, wood, dates, 
cotton, &c. The Suezians live well, and their bazar is 
abundantly stocked with meat and clarified butter brought 
from Sinai, and fowls, corn, and vegetables from the 
Sharkiyah province ; fruit is supplied by Cairo as well as 
by the Sharkiyah, and wheat conveyed down the Nile in 
flood to the capital is carried on camel-back across the 
Desert. At sunrise they eat the Fatur, or breakfast, 
which in summer consists of a ' fatirah,' a kind of muffin, 
or of bread and treacle. In winter it is more substan- 
tial, being generally a mixture of lentils and rice, 1 with 
clarified butter poured over it, and a ' kitchen ' of pickled 
lime or stewed onions. At this season they greatly enjoy 
the ' ful mudammas ' (boiled horse-beans), 2 eaten with 
an abundance of linseed oil, into which they steep bits 
of bread. The beans form, with carbon-generating 
matter, a highly nutritive diet, which, if the stomach 
can digest it, — the pulse is never shelled, — gives great 
strength. About the middle of the day comes ' Al- 
Ghada,' a light dinner of wheaten bread, with dates, 
onions or cheese : in the hot season melons and cool- 

1 This mixture, called in India Kichhri, has become common in 
Al-Hijaz as well as at Suez. " Al-Kajari " is the corruption, which 
denotes its foreign origin, and renders its name pronounceable to 

2 Beans, an abomination to the ancient Egyptians, who were for- 
bidden even to sow them, may now be called the common " kitchen " 
of the country. The Badawin, who believe in nothing but flesh, milk, 
and dates, deride the bean-eaters, but they do not consider the food 
so disgusting as onions. 

IX. — Suez, 183 

ing fruits are preferred, especially by those who have 
to face the sun. ' Al-Asha,' or supper, is served about 
half an hour after sunset ; at this meal all but the poorest 
classes eat meat. Their favourite flesh, as usual in this 
part of the world, is mutton ; beef and goat are little 
prized. 1 " 

The people of Suez are a finer and fairer race 
than the Cairenes. The former have more the ap- 
pearance of Arabs : their dress is more picturesque, their 
eyes are carefully darkened with Kohl, and they wear 
sandals, not slippers. They are, according to all accounts, 
a turbulent and somewhat fanatic set, fond of quarrels, 
and slightly addicted to "pronunciamentos." The general 
programme of one of these latter diversions is said 
to be as follows. The boys will first be sent by their 
fathers about the town in a disorderly mob, and ordered 
to cry out " Long live the Sultan ! " with its usual sequel, 
11 Death to the Infidels ! " The Infidels, Christians or 
others, must hear and may happen to resent this ; or 
possibly the governor, foreseeing a disturbance, orders an 
ingenuous youth or two to be imprisoned, or to be caned 
by the police. Whereupon some person, rendered in- 
fluential by wealth or religious reputation, publicly 
complains that the Christians are all in all, and that in 
these evil days Al-Islam is going to destruction. On this 
occasion the speaker conducts himself with such insolence, 
that the governor perforce consigns him to confinement, 
which exasperates the populace still more. Secret meet- 
ings are now convened, and in them the chiefs of 
corporations assume a prominent position. If the 
disturbance be intended by its main -spring to subside 
quietly, the conspirators are allowed to take their own 
way ; they will drink copiously, become lions about 
midnight, and recover their hare-hearts before noon next 

1 Here concludes Mr. Levick's letter. For the following observa- 
tions, I alone am answerable. 

184 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

day. But if mischief be intended, a case of bloodshed is 
brought about, and then nothing can arrest the torrent 
of popular rage. 1 The Egyptian, with all his good 
humour, merriment, and nonchalance, is notorious for 
doggedness, when, as the popular phrase is, his " blood is 
up." And this, indeed, is his chief merit as a soldier. 
He has a certain mechanical dexterity in the use of arms, 
and an Egyptian regiment will fire a volley as correctly 
as a battalion at Chobham. But when the head, and 
not the hands, is required, he notably fails. The reason 
of his superiority in the field is his peculiar stubborness, 
and this, together with his powers of digestion and of 
enduring hardship on the line of march, is the quality 
that makes him terrible to his old conqueror, the Turk. 2 

1 The government takes care to prevent bloodshed in the towns 
by disarming the country people, and by positively forbidding the 
carrying of weapons. Moreover, with a wise severity, it punishes all 
parties concerned in a quarrel, where blood is drawn, with a heavy 
fine and the bastinado de rigueur. Hence it is never safe, except as a 
European, to strike a man, and the Egyptians generally confine them- 
selves to collaring and pushing each other against the walls. Even in 
the case of receiving gross abuse, you cannot notice it as you would 
elsewhere. You must take two witnesses, — respectable men, — and 
prove the offence before the Zabit, who alone can punish the offender. 

2 Note to Third (1873) Edition. — I revisited Suez in Septem- 
ber, 1869, and found it altered for the better. The population had 
risen from 6,ooo to 20,000. The tumble-down gateway was still there, 
but of the old houses — including the " George Inn," whose front had 
been repaired — I recognised only four, and they looked mean by the 
side of the fine new buildings. In a few years ancient Suez will be 
no more. The bazars are not so full of filth and flies, now that 
pilgrims pass straight through and hardly even encamp. The sweet 
water Canal renders a Hammam possible ; coffee is no longer hot 
saltish water, and presently irrigation will cover with fields and 
gardens the desert plain extending to the feet of Jabal Atakah. The 
noble works of the Canal Maritime, which should in justice be called 
the " Lesseps Canal," shall soon transform Clysma into a modern 
and civilised city. The railway station, close to the hotel, the new 
British hospital, the noisy Greek casino, the Frankish shops, the 

IX. — Suez. 185 

puffing steamers, and the ringing of morning bells, gave me a novel 
impression. Even the climate has been changed by filling up the 
Timsch Lakes. Briefly, the hat is now at home in Suez. 

Note to Fourth (1879) Edition. — The forecast in the last 
paragraph has not been fulfilled. I again visited Suez in 1877-78, 
and found that it had been ruined by the Canal leaving it out of line. 
In fact, another Suez is growing up about the " New Docks," while 
the old town is falling to pieces. For this and other Egyptian 
matters, see " The Gold Mines of Midian " (by Sir Richard Burton). 

1 86 



The larger craft anchor some three or four miles 
from the Suez pier, so that it is necessary to drop down 
in a skiff or shore-boat. 

Immense was the confusion at the eventful hour of 
our departure. Suppose us gathered upon the beach, on 
the morning of a fiery July day, carefully watching our 
hurriedly-packed goods and chattels, surrounded by a 
mob of idlers, who are not too proud to pick up waifs and 
strays ; whilst pilgrims are rushing about apparently mad ; 
and friends are weeping, acquaintances are vociferating 
adieux ; boatmen are demanding fees, shopmen are claim- 
ing debts ; women are shrieking and talking with inconceiv- 
able power, and children are crying, — in short, for an hour 
or so we stand in the thick of a human storm. To confound 
confusion, the boatmen have moored their skiffhalf a dozen 
yards away from the shore, lest the porters should be 
unable to make more than double their fare from the 
Hajis. Again the Turkish women make a hideous noise, 
as they are carried off struggling vainly in brawny arms ; 
the children howl because their mothers howl ; and the 
men scold and swear, because in such scenes none may 
be silent. The moment we had embarked, each indi- 
vidual found that he or she had missed something of vital 
importance, — a pipe, a child, a box, or a water-melon ; 
and naturally all the servants were in the bazars, when 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 187 

they should have been in the boat. Briefly, despite 
the rage of the sailors, who feared being too late for a 
second trip, we stood for some time on the beach before 
putting off. 

From the shore we poled to the little pier, where 
sat the Bey in person to perform a final examination of 
our passports. Several were detected without the necessary 
document. Some were bastinadoed, others were peremp- 
torily ordered back to Cairo, and the rest were allowed to 
proceed. At about 10 a.m. (6th July) we hoisted sail, and ran 
down the channel leading to the roadstead. On our way we 
had a specimen of what we might expect from our fellow- 
passengers, the Maghrabi. 1 A boat crowded with these 

1 Men of the Maghrab, or Western Africa ; the vulgar plural is 
Maghrabin, generally written " Mogrebyn." May not the singular 
form of this word have given rise to the Latin " Maurus," by elision 
of the Ghayn, to Italians an unpronounceable consonant ? From 
Maurus comes the Portuguese " Moro," and our " Moor." When 
Vasco de Gama reached Calicut, he found there a tribe of Arab 
colonists, who in religion and in language were the same as the people 
of Northern Africa, — for this reason he called them " Moors." This 
was explained long ago by Vincent (Periplus, lib. 3), and lately by 
Prichard (Natural History of Man). I repeat it because it has been 
my fate to hear, at a meeting of a learned society in London, a 
gentleman declare, that in Eastern Africa he found a people calling 
themselves Moors. Maghrabin — Westerns, — then would be opposed to 
Sharkiyin, Easterns, the origin of our " Saracen." From Gibbon 
downwards many have discussed the history of this word ; but few 
expected in the nineteenth century to see a writer on Eastern subjects 
assert, with Sir John Mandeville, that these people " properly, ben 
clept Sarrazins of Sarra." The learned M. Jomard, who never takes 
such original views of things, asks a curious question :— " Mais com- 
ment un son aussi distinct que le Chine £ aurait-il pu se confondre 
avec le Syn ^ et, pour un mot aussi connu que charq ; comment 
aurait-on pu se tromper a l'omission des points ?" Simply because 
the word Saracens came to us through the Greeks (Ptolemy uses 
it), who have no such sound as sh in their language, and through 
the Italian which, hostile to the harsh sibilants of Oriental dialects, 
generally melts sh down into s. So the historical word Hashshash- 
iyun — hemp-drinker, — civilised by the Italians into " assassino," 

1 88 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

ruffians ran alongside of us, and, before we could organise 
a defence, about a score of them poured into our vessel. 
They carried things too with a high hand, laughed at us, 
and seemed quite ready to fight. My Indian boy, who 
happened to let slip the word " Muarras," narrowly 
escaped a blow with a palm stick, which would have 
felled a camel. They outnumbered us, and they were 
armed ; so that, on this occasion, we were obliged to put 
up with their insolence. 

Our Pilgrim Ship, the Silk al-Zahab, or the " Golden 
Wire," was a Sambuk, of about 400 ardebs (fifty tons), 
with narrow, wedge-like bows, a clean water-line, a sharp 
keel, and undecked, except upon the poop, which was 
high enough to act as a sail in a gale of wind. She 
carried two masts, raking imminently forwards, the main 
being considerably larger than the mizzen ; the former 
was provided with a huge triangular latine, very deep in 
the tack, but the second sail was unaccountably wanting. 
She had no means of reefing, no compass, no log, no 
sounding lines, no spare ropes, nor even the suspicion of 
a chart : in her box-like cabin and ribbed hold there was 
something which savoured of close connection between 
her model and that of the Indian Toni, 1 or " dug-out." 

became, as all know, an expression of European use. But if any 
one adverse to " etymological fancies" objects to my deriving Maurus 
from " Maghrab," let him remember Johnson's successfully tracing 
the course of the metamorphosis of "dies" into "jour." An even 
more peculiar change we may discover in the word "elephant." 
"Pilu" in Sanscrit, became "pil" in old Persian, which ignores 
short final vowels; "fil," and, with the article, " Al-fil," in Arabic, 
which supplies the place of p (an unknown letter to it), by f ; and 
elephas in Greek, which is fond of adding " as " to Arabic words, as 
in the cases of Aretas (Haris) and Obodas (Obayd). " A name," 
says Humboldt, "often becoming a historical monument, and the 
etymological analysis of language, however it may be divided, is 
attended by valuable results." 

1 The Toni or Indian canoe is the hollowed-out trunk of a 
tree, — near Bombay generally a mango. It must have been the first 

X. — The Pilgvim Ship. 189 

Such, probably, were the craft which carried old Sesostris 
across the Red Sea to Deir ; such were the cruisers 
which once every three years left Ezion-Geber for 
Tarshish ; such the transports of which 130 were re- 
quired to convey iElius Gallus, with his 10,000 men. 
" Bakhshish " was the last as well as the first odious 
sound I heard in Egypt. The owner of the shore-boat 
would not allow us to climb the sides of our vessel before 
paying him his fare, and when we did so, he asked for 
Bakhshish. If Easterns would only imitate the example 
of Europeans, — I never yet saw an Englishman give 
Bakhshish to a soul, — the nuisance would soon be done 
away with. But on this occasion all my companions 
complied with the request, and at times it is unpleasant 
to be singular. The first look at the interior of our 
vessel showed a hopeless sight ; Ali Murad, the greedy 
owner, had promised to take sixty passengers in the hold, 
but had stretched the number to ninety-seven. Piles of 
boxes and luggage in every shape and form filled the ship 
from stem to stern, and a torrent of Hajis were pouring 
over the sides like ants into the East- Indian sugar-basin. 
The poop, too, where we had taken our places, was 
covered with goods, and a number of pilgrims had estab- 
lished themselves there by might, not by right. 

Presently, to our satisfaction, appeared Sa'ad the 
Demon, equipped as an able seaman, and looking most 
unlike the proprietor of two large boxes full of valuable 
merchandise. This energetic individual instantly pre- 
pared for action. With our little party to back him, he 
speedily cleared the poop of intruders and their stuff by 
the simple process of pushing or rather throwing them 
off it into the pit below. We then settled down as 
comfortably as we could ; three Syrians, a married Turk 
with his wife and family, the Rais or captain of the vessel, 

step in advance from that simplest form of naval architecture, the 
" Catamaran " of Madras and Aden. 

i go Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca h. 

with a portion of his crew, and our seven selves, com- 
posing a total of eighteen human beings, upon a space 
certainly not exceeding ten feet by eight. The cabin — a 
miserable box about the size of the poop, and three feet 
high — was stuffed, like the hold of a slave ship, with 
fifteen wretches, children and women, and the other 
ninety-seven were disposed upon the luggage or squatted 
on the bulwarks. Having some experience in such 
matters, and being favoured by fortune, I found a spare 
bed-frame slung to the ship's side ; and giving a dollar 
to its owner, a sailor — who nattered himself that, because 
it was his, he would sleep upon it, — I instantly appro- 
priated it, preferring any hardship outside, to the condition 
of a packed herring inside, the place of torment. 

Our Maghrabis were fine-looking animals from the 
deserts about Tripoli and Tunis ; so savage that, but a 
few weeks ago, they had gazed at the cock-boat, and 
wondered how long it would be growing to the size 
of the ship that was to take them to Alexandria. 
Most of them were sturdy young fellows, round-headed, 
broad-shouldered, tall and large-limbed, with frowning 
eyes, and voices in a perpetual roar. Their manners were 
rude, and their faces full of fierce contempt or insolent 
familiarity. A few old men were there, with countenances 
expressive of intense ferocity ; women as savage and full 
of fight as men ; and handsome boys with shrill voices, 
and hands always upon their daggers. The women were 
mere bundles of dirty white rags. The males were clad 
in " Burnus " — brown or striped woollen cloaks with 
hoods ; they had neither turband nor tarbush, trusting to 
their thick curly hair or to the prodigious hardness of 
their scalps as a defence against the sun ; and there was 
not a slipper nor a shoe amongst the party. Of course 
all were armed ; but, fortunately for us, none had any- 
thing more formidable than a cut-and-thrust dagger about 
ten inches long. These Maghrabis travel in hordes under 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. igi 

a leader who obtains the temporary title of " Maula,"— 
the master. He has generally performed a pilgrimage or 
two, and has collected a stock of superficial information 
which secures for him the respect of his followers, and 
the profound contempt of the heaven-made Ciceroni of 
Meccah and Al-Madinah. No people endure greater 
hardships when upon the pilgrimage than these Africans, 
who trust almost entirely to alms and to other such dis- 
pensations of Providence. It is not therefore to be 
wondered at that they rob whenever an opportunity pre- 
sents itself. Several cases of theft occurred on board the 
"Golden Wire"; and as such plunderers seldom allow 
themselves to be baulked by insufficient defence, they are 
accused, perhaps deservedly, of having committed some 
revolting murders. 

The first thing to be done after gaining standing- 
room was to fight for greater comfort ; and never a 
Holyhead packet in the olden time showed a finer scene 
of pugnacity than did our pilgrim ship. A few Turks, 
ragged old men from Anatolia and Caramania, were 
mixed up with the Maghrabis, and the former began the 
war by contemptuously elbowing and scolding their wild 
neighbours. The Maghrabis, under their leader, " Maula 
Ali," a burly savage, in whom I detected a ridiculous 
resemblance to the Rev. Charles Delafosse, an old and 
well-remembered schoolmaster, retorted so willingly that 
in a few minutes nothing was to be seen but a confused 
mass of humanity, each item indiscriminately punching 
and pulling, scratching and biting, butting and trampling, 
with cries of rage, and all the accompaniments of a proper 
fray, whatever was obnoxious to such operations. One 
of our party on the poop, a Syrian, somewhat incautiously 
leapt down to aid his countrymen by restoring order. 
He sank immediately below the surface of the living 
mass : and when we fished him out, his forehead was cut 
open, half his beard had disappeared, and a fine sharp set 

1 92 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

of teeth belonging to some Maghrabi had left their mark 
in the calf of his leg. The enemy showed no love of fair 
play, and never appeared contented unless five or six of 
them were setting upon a single man. This made matters 
worse. The weaker of course drew their daggers, and a 
few bad wounds were soon given and received. In a few 
minutes five men were completely disabled, and the victors 
began to dread the consequences of their victory. 

Then the fighting stopped, and, as many could not 
find places, it was agreed that a deputation should wait 
upon Ali Murad, the owner, to inform him of the crowded 
state of the vessel. After keeping us in expectation at 
least three hours, he appeared in a row-boat, preserving 
a respectful distance, and informed us that any one who 
pleased might quit the ship and take back his fare. 
This left the case exactly as it was before ; none would 
abandon his party to go on shore : so Ali Murad rowed 
off towards Suez, giving us a parting injunction to be 
good, and not fight ; to trust in Allah, and that Allah 
would make all things easy to us. His departure was the 
signal for a second fray, which in its accidents differed a 
little from the first. During the previous disturbance we 
kept our places with weapons in our hands. This time 
we were summoned by the Maghrabis to relieve their 
difficulties, by taking about half a dozen of them on the 
poop. Sa'ad the Demon at once rose with an oath, and 
threw amongst us a bundle of " Nabbut " — goodly ashen 
staves six feet long, thick as a man's wrist, well greased, 
and tried in many a rough bout. He shouted to us 
" Defend yourselves if you don't wish to be the meat of 
the Maghrabis ! " and to the enemy — " Dogs and sons of 
dogs ! now shall you see what the children of the Arab 
are." " I am Omar of Daghistan ! " "I am Abdullah 
the son of Joseph ! " " I am Sa'ad the Demon ! " we ex- 
claimed, " renowning it " by this display of name and 
patronymic. To do our enemies justice, they showed no 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 193 

sign of flinching ; they swarmed towards the poop like 
angry hornets, and encouraged each other with cries 
of " Allaho akbar ! " But we had a vantage-ground 
about four feet above them, and their palm-sticks and 
short daggers could do nothing against our terrible quarter- 
staves. In vain the " Jacquerie," tried to scale the poop 
and to overpower us by numbers ; their courage only 
secured them more broken heads. 

At first I began to lay on load with main movie, 
really fearing to kill some one with such a weapon ; but 
it soon became evident that the Maghrabis' heads and 
shoulders could bear and did require the utmost exertion 
of strength. Presently a thought struck me. A large 
earthen jar full of drinking water, 1 — in its heavy frame of 
wood the weight might have been 100 lbs., — stood upon 
the edge of the poop, and the thick of the fray took place 
beneath. Seeing an opportunity, I crept up to the jar, 
and, without attracting attention, rolled it down by a 
smart push with the shoulder upon the swarm of 
assailants. The fall caused a shriller shriek to rise above 
the ordinary din, for heads, limbs, and bodies were sorely 
bruised by the weight, scratched by the broken potsherds, 
and wetted by the sudden discharge. A fear that some- 
thing worse might be coming made the Maghrabis slink 
off towards the end of the vessel. After a few minutes, 
we, sitting in grave silence, received a deputation of 
individuals in whity-brown Burnus, spotted and striped 
with what Mephistopheles calls a " curious juice." They 
solicited peace, which we granted upon the condition that 
they would pledge themselves to keep it. Our heads, 
shoulders, and hands were penitentially kissed, and pre- 
sently the fellows returned to bind up their hurts in dirty 

1 In these vessels each traveller, unless a previous bargain be 
made, is expected to provide his own water and firewood. The 
best way, however, is, when the old wooden box called a tank is 
sound, to pay the captain for providing water, and to keep the key. 
VOL. 1. 13 

194 Pilgv image to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

rags. We owed this victory entirely to our own exer- 
tions, and the meek Omar was by far the fiercest of 
the party. Our Rais, as we afterwards learned, was an 
old fool who could do nothing but call for the Fatihah, 1 
claim Bakhshish at every place where we moored for the 
night, and spend his leisure hours in the " Caccia del 
Mediterraneo." Our crew consisted of half a dozen 
Egyptian lads, who, not being able to defend themselves, 
were periodically chastised by the Maghrabis, especially 
when any attempt was made to cook, to fetch water, or 
to prepare a pipe.- 

At length, about 3 p.m. on the 6th July, 1853, we 
shook out the sail, and, as it bellied in the favourable 
wind, we recited the Fatihah with upraised hands which 
we afterwards drew down our faces. :! As the " Golden 
Wire " started from her place, I could not help casting 
one wistful look upon the British flag floating over the 
Consulate. But the momentary regret was stifled by the 
heart-bounding which prospects of an adventure excite, 
and by the real pleasure of leaving Egypt. I had lived 
there a stranger in the land, and a hapless life it had 
been : in the streets every man's face, as he looked upon 
the Persian, was the face of a foe. W'henever I came in 
contact with the native officials, 1 insolence marked the 

1 The "opener" — the first chapter of the Koran, which Mos- 
lems recite as Christians do the Lord's Prayer ; it is also used on 
occasions of danger, the beginnings of journeys, to bind contracts, &c. 

2 These Maghrabis, like the Somalis, theWahhabis of the desert, 
and certain other barbarous races, unaccustomed to tobacco, appeared 
to hate the smell of a pipe. 

3 The hands are raised in order to catch the blessing that is sup- 
posed to descend from heaven upon the devotee ; and the meaning of 
drawing the palms down the face is symbolically to transfer the bene- 
diction to every part of the body. 

4 As is the case under all despotic governments, nothing can be 
more intentionally offensive than the official manners of a superior to 
his inferior in Egypt. The Indians charge their European fellow- 
subjects with insolence of demeanour and coarseness of language. 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 195 

event ; and the circumstance of living within hail of my 
fellow-countrymen, and yet finding it impossible to enjoy 
their society, still throws a gloom over the memory of my 
first sojourn in Egypt. 

The ships of the Red Sea — infamous region of rocks, 
reefs, and shoals — cruise along the coast by day, and at 
night lay-to in the first cove they find ; they do not sail 
when it blows hard, and as in winter time the weather is 
often stormy and the light of day does not last long, the 
voyage is intolerably slow. 1 At sunset we stayed our 
adventurous course ; and, still within sight of Suez, com- 
fortably anchored under the lee of Jabal Atakah, the 
" Mountain of Deliverance, 2 " the butt-end of Jabal Joshi. 
We were now on classic waters. The Eastern shore was 
dotted with the little grove of palm-trees which clusters 
around the Uyun Musa, or Moses' Wells ; and on the 
west, between two towering ridges, lay the mouth of the 
valley (Badiyah, or Wady Tawarik, or Wady Musa) down 
which, according to Father Sicard, 3 the Israelites fled to 

As far as my experience goes, our roughness and brusquerie are mere 
politeness compared with what passes between Easterns. At the 
same time it must be owned that I have seen the worst of it. 

1 It was far safer and more expeditious in Al-Adrisi's day (a.d. 
1154), when the captain used to sit on the poop " furnished with 
numerous and useful instruments "; when he " sounded the shallows, 
and by his knowledge of the depths could direct the helmsman 
where to steer." 

2 In the East it is usual, when commencing a voyage or a journey, 
to make a short day's work, in order to be at a convenient distance 
for returning, in case of any essential article having been forgotten. 

3 A Jesuit missionary who visited the place in a.d. 1720, and 
described it in a well-known volume. As every eminent author, 
however, monopolises a " crossing," and since the head of the Suez 
creek, as is shown by its old watermark, has materially changed 
within no very distant period, it is no wonder that the question is 
still subjudice, and that there it will remain most probably till the end 
of time. The Christians have two equally favourite lines : the Mos- 
lems patronise one so impossible, that it has had attractions enough 

196 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the Sea of Sedge. 1 The view was by no means deficient 
in a sort of barbarous splendour. Verdure there was none, 
but under the violet and orange tints of the sky the chalky 
rocks became heaps of topazes, and the brown-burnt 
ridges masses of amethyst. The rising mists, here silvery 
white, there deeply rosy, and the bright blue of the 
waves,' 2 lining long strips of golden sand, compensated for 
the want of softness by a semblance of savage gorgeous- 

Next morning (7th July), before the cerulean hue had 
vanished from the hills, we set sail. It was not long before 
we came to a proper sense of our position. The box con- 
taining my store of provisions, and, worse still, my 
opium, was at the bottom of the hold, perfectly un- 
approachable ; we had, therefore, the pleasure of break- 
ing our fast on " Mare's skin," 3 and a species of biscuit, 
hard as a stone and quite as tasteless. During the day, 
whilst insufferable splendour reigned above, the dashing 
of the waters below kept my nest in a state of perpetual 
drench. At night rose a cold, bright moon, with dews 
falling so thick and clammy that the skin felt as though 
it would never be dry again. It is, also, by no means pleas- 

to fix their choice. It extends from Zafaran Point to Hammam 
Bluffs, ten miles of deep water. 

1 The Hebrew name of this part of the Red Sea. In a communi- 
cation lately made to the Royal Geographical Society, I gave my 
reasons for believing that the Greeks borrowed their Erythraean Sea 
from the Arabic " Sea of Himyar." 

2 Most travellers remark that they have never seen a brighter 
blue than that of the Red Sea. It was the observation of an early 
age that " the Rede Sea is not more rede than any other sea, but in 
some place thereof is the gravelle rede, and therefore men clepen it 
the Rede Sea." 

3 Jild al-Faras (or Kamar al-Din), a composition of apricot paste, 
dried, spread out, and folded into sheets, exactly resembling the 
article after which it is named. Turks and Arabs use it when travel- 
ling ; they dissolve it in water, and eat it as a relish with bread or 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 197 

ant to sleep upon a broken cot about four feet long by two 
broad, with the certainty that a false movement would 
throw you overboard, and a conviction that if you do fall 
from a Sambuk under sail, no mortal power can save you. 
And as under all .circumstances in the East, dozing is 
one's chief occupation, the reader will understand that the 
want of it left me in utter, utter idleness. 

The gale was light that day, and the sunbeams were 
fire ; our crew preferred crouching in the shade of the sail 
to taking advantage of what wind there was. In spite of 
our impatience we made but little way : near evening 
time we anchored on a tongue of sand, about two miles 
distant from the well-known and picturesque heights 
called by the Arabs Haramam Faraun, 1 which 
— " like giants stand 
To sentinel enchanted land." 

The strip of coarse quartz and sandstone gravel is ob- 
viously the offspring of some mountain torrent ; it 
stretches southwards, being probably disposed in that 
direction by the currents of the sea as they receive the 
deposit. The distance of the " Haramam Bluffs " pre- 
vented my visiting them, which circumstance I regretted 
the less as they have been described by pens equal to the 

That evening we enjoyed ourselves upon clean sand, 
whose surface, drifted by the wind into small yellow 
waves, was easily converted by a little digging and heap- 
ing up, into the coolest and most comfortable of couches. 
Indeed, after the canescent heat of the day, and the 
tossing of our ill-conditioned vessel, we should have 
been contented with lodgings far less luxurious. Fuel 
was readily collected, and while some bathed, others 

1 " Pharaoh's hot baths," which in our maps are called " Hum- 
mum Bluffs." They are truly "enchanted land" in Moslem fable : 
a volume would scarcely contain the legends that have been told and 
written about them. (See Note 1, p. 10, ante.) 

198 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

erected a hearth — three large stones and a hole open to 
leeward — lit the fire and put the pot on to boil. Shaykh 
Nur had fortunately a line ; we had been successful in 
fishing ; a little rice also had been bought ; with this 
boiled, and rock-cod broiled upon the charcoal, we made 
a dinner that caused every one to forget the sore griev- 
ance of "Mare's skin" and stone-hard biscuit. A few 
Maghrabis had ventured on shore, the Rais having 
terrified the others by threatening them with those 
" bogies," the Badawin — and they offered us Kuskusu 1 
in exchange for fish. As evening fell, we determined, 
before sleeping, to work upon their " morale " as effec- 
tually as we had attacked their physique. Shaykh 
Hamid stood up and indulged them with the Azan, or 
call to prayers, pronounced after the fashion of Al- 
Madinah. 2 They performed their devotions in lines 
ranged behind us as a token of respect, and when wor- 
ship was over we were questioned about the Holy City 
till we grew tired of answering. Again our heads and 
shoulders, our hands and knees, 3 were kissed, but this 
time in devotion, not in penitence. My companions 
could scarcely understand half the rugged words which 
the Maghrabis used, 4 as their dialect was fresh from the 

1 One of the numerous species of what the Italians generally 
call " Pasta." The material is wheaten or barley flour rolled into 
small round grains. In Barbary it is cooked by steaming, and served 
up with hard boiled eggs and mutton, sprinkled with red pepper. 
These Badawi Maghrabis merely boiled it. 

2 The Azan is differently pronounced, though similarly worded 
by every orthodox nation in Al-Islam. 

3 The usual way of kissing the knee is to place the finger tips 
upon it, and then to raise them to the mouth. It is an action 
denoting great humility, and the condescending superior who is not 
an immediate master returns the compliment in the same way. 

4 The Maghrabi dialect is known to be the harshest and most 
guttural form of Arabic. It owes this unenviable superiority to its 
frequency of " Sukun," or the quiescence of one or more conson- 
ants; — " K'lab," for instance, for "Kilab," and " 'Msik" for "Amsik." 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 199 

distant Desert. Still we succeeded in making ourselves in- 
telligible to them, vaunting our dignity as the Sons of 
the Prophet, and the sanctity of our land which should 
protect its children from every description of fraud and 
violence. We benignantly promised to be their guides at 
Al-Madinah, and the boy Mohammed would conduct 
their devotions at Meccah, always provided that they re- 
pented their past misdeeds, avoided any repetition of the 
same, and promised to perform the duties of good and 
faithful pilgrims. Presently the Rais joined our party, 
and the usual story-telling began. The old man knew 
the name of each hill, and had a legend for every nook 
and corner in sight. He dwelt at length upon the life of 
Abu Zulaymah, the patron saint of these seas, whose 
little tomb stands at no great distance from our bivouac 
place, and told us how he sits watching over the safety of 
pious mariners in a cave among the neighbouring rocks, 
and sipping his coffee, which is brought in a raw state 
from Meccah by green birds, and prepared in the usual 
way by the hands of ministering angels. He showed us 
the spot where the terrible king of Egypt, when close 
upon the heels of the children of Israel, was whelmed in 
the " hell of waters, 1 " and he warned us that next day 
our way would be through breakers, and reefs, and dan- 
gerous currents, over whose troubled depths, since that 
awful day, the Ifrit of the storm has never ceased to flap 
his sable wing. The wincing of the hearers proved that 
the shaft of the old man's words was sharp ; but as night 
was advancing, we unrolled our rugs, and fell asleep upon 
the sand, all of us happy, for we had fed and drunk, and 

Thus it is that vowels, the soft and liquid part of language, disappear, 
leaving in their place a barbarous sounding mass of consonants. 

1 Burckhardt mentions the Arab legend that the spirits of the 
drowned Egyptians may be seen moving at the bottom of the sea, 
and Finati adds that they are ever busy recruiting their numbers with 
shipwrecked mariners. 

200 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

— the homo sapiens is a hopeful animal — we made sure that 
on the morrow the Ifrit would be merciful, and allow us 
to eat fresh dates at the harbour of Tur. 

Fair visions of dates doomed to the Limbo of things 
which should have been ! The grey dawn (8th July) looked 
down upon us in difficulties. The water is deep near this 
coast ; we had anchored at high tide close to the shore, and 
the ebb had left us high and dry. When this fact became 
apparent, a storm was upon the point of breaking. The 
Maghrabis, but for our interference, would have bas- 
tinadoed the Rais, who, they said with some reason, 
ought to have known better. When this phase of feeling 
passed away, they applied themselves to physical efforts. 
All except the women and children, who stood on the 
shore encouraging their relatives with shrill quaverings, 
threw themselves into the water ; some pushed, others 
applied their shoulders to the vessel's side, and all used 
their lungs with might and main. But the "Golden 
Wire " was firmly fixed, and their exertions were too ir- 
regular. Muscular force failed, upon which they changed 
their tactics. At the suggestion of their " Maula," they 
prepared to burn incense in honour of the Shaykh Abu 
Zulaymah. The material not being forthcoming, they 
used coffee, which perhaps accounts for the shortcomings 
of that holy man. After this the Rais remembered that 
their previous exertions had not begun under the auspices 
of the Fatihah. Therefore they prayed, and then re- 
applied themselves to work. Still they failed. Finally, 
each man called aloud upon his own particular saint or 
spiritual guide, and rushed forward as if he alone sufficed 
for the exploit. Shaykh Hamid unwisely quoted the 
name, and begged the assistance, of his great ancestor, 
the " Clarified-Butter-Seller "; the obdurate "Golden 
Wire" was not moved, and Hamid retired in momentary 

It was now about nine a.m., and the water had risen 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 201 

considerably. My morning had been passed in watching 
the influx of the tide, and the grotesque efforts of the 
Maghrabis. When the vessel showed some symptoms of 
unsteadiness, I arose, walked gravely up to her, ranged 
the pilgrims around her with their shoulders to the sides, 
and told them to heave with might when they heard 
me invoke the revered name of my patron saint. I raised 
my hands and voice ; " Ya Piran Pir ! Ya Abd al-Kadir 
Jilani 1 " was the signal. Each Maghrabi worked like an 
Atlas, the "Golden Wire" canted half over, and, sliding 
heavily through, the sand, once more floated off into deep 
water. This was generally voted a minor miracle, and 
the Effendi was respected — for a day or two. 

The wind was fair, but we had all to re-embark, an 
operation which went on till noon. After starting I re- 
marked the natural cause which gives this Birkat Faraun — 
" Pharaoh's Bay," — a bad name. Here the gulf narrows ; 
and the winds, which rush down the clefts and valleys of 
the lofty mountain s on the Eastern and Western shores, 
meeting tides and counter-currents, cause a perpetual 
commotion. That day the foam-tipped waves repeatedly 
washed over my cot, by no means diminishing its dis- 
comforts. In the evening, or rather late in the afternoon, 
we anchored, to our infinite disgust, under a ridge of 
rocks, behind which lies the plain of Tur. The Rais 
deterred all from going on shore by terrible stories about 
the Badawin that haunt the place, besides which there 
was no sand to sleep upon. We remained, therefore, on 
board that night ; and, making sail early the next morning, 
we threaded through reefs and sand-banks about noon 
into the intricate and dangerous entrance of Tur. 

Nothing can be meaner than the present appearance 
of the old Phoenician colony, although its position as a 

1 I thus called upon a celebrated Sufi or mystic, whom many 
East-Indian Moslems reverence as the Arabs do their Prophet. In 
Appendix I. the curious reader will find Abd al-Kadir again mentioned. 

202 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca h. 

harbour, and its plentiful supply of fruit and fresh water, 
make it one of the most frequented places on the coast. 
The only remains of any antiquity — except the wells— are 
the fortifications which the Portuguese erected to keep 
out the Badawin. The little town lies upon a plain that 
stretches with a gradual rise from the sea to the lofty 
mountain-axis of the Sinaitic group. The country around 
reminded me strongly of maritime Sind ; a flat of clay 
and sand, clothed with sparse turfs of Salsolae, and 
bearing strong signs of a (geologically speaking) recent 
origin. The town is inhabited principally by Greek 
and other Christians, 1 who live by selling water and 
provisions to ships. A fleecy cloud hung lightly over 
the majestic head of Jabal Tur, about eventide, and 
the outlines of the giant hills stood "picked out " from 
the clear blue sky. Our Rais, weather-wise man, warned 
us that these were indications of a gale, and that, in case 
of rough weather, he did not intend to leave Tur. I was 
not sorry to hear this. We had passed a pleasant day, 
drinking sweet water, and eating the dates, grapes, and 
pomegranates, which the people of the place carry down 
to the beach for the benefit of hungry pilgrims. Besides 
which, there were various sights to see, and with these 
we might profitably spend the morrow. We therefore 
pitched the tent upon the sand, and busied ourselves with 

i Those people are descendants of Syrians and Greeks that 
fled from Candia, Scios, the Ionian Islands, and Palestine to escape 
the persecutions of the Turks. They now wear the Arab dress, and 
speak the language of the country, but they are easily to be distin- 
guished from the Moslems by the expression of their countenances 
and sometimes by their blue eyes and light hair. There are also a 
few families calling themselves Jabaliyah, or mountaineers. Origin- 
ally they were ioo households, sent by Justinian to serve the convent 
of St. Catherine, and to defend it against the Berbers. Sultan Kansuh 
al-Ghori, called by European writers Campson Gaury, the Mamluk 
King of Egypt, in a.d. 1501, admitted these people into the Moslem 
community on condition of their continuing the menial service they 
had afforded to the monks. 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 203 

extricating a box of provisions : the labour was rendered 
lighter by the absence of theMaghrabis, some of whom were 
wandering about the beach, whilst others had gone off to 
fill their bags with fresh water. We found their surliness 
insufferable ; even when we were passing from poop to 
forecastle, landing or boarding, they grumbled forth their 

Our Rais was not mistaken in his prediction. The 
fleecy cloud on Tur's tops had given true warning. When 
morning (9th July) broke, we found the wind strong, and the 
sea white with foam. Most of us thought lightly of these 
terrors, but our valorous captain swore that he dared not 
for his life cross in such a storm the mouth of ill-omened 
Akabah. We breakfasted, therefore, and afterwards set 
out to visit Moses' Hot Baths, mounted on wretched 
donkeys with pack-saddles, ignorant of stirrups, and with- 
out tails, whilst we ourselves suffered generally from boils, 
which, as usual upon a journey, make their appearance 
in localities the most inconvenient. Our road lay north- 
ward across the plain towards a long narrow strip of date 
ground, surrounded by a ruinous mud wall. After a ride 
of two or three miles, we entered the gardens, and came 
suddenly upon the Hammam. It is a prim little Cockney 
bungalow, built by Abbas Pasha of Egypt for his own 
accommodation; glaringly whitewashed, and garnished 
with diwans and calico curtains of a gorgeous hue. The 
guardian had been warned of our visit, and was present 
to supply us with bathing-cloths and other necessaries. 
One by one we entered the cistern, which is now in an 
inner room. The water is about four feet deep, warm 
in winter, cool in summer, of a saltish-bitter taste, but 
celebrated for its invigorating qualities, when applied 
externally. On one side of the calcareous rock, near the 
ground, is the hole opened for the spring by Moses' rod, 
which must have been like the " mast of some tall 

204 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Ammiral 1 "; and near it are the marks of Moses' nails — 
deep indentations in the stone, which were probably left 
there by some extinct Saurian. Our Cicerone informed 
us that formerly the finger-marks existed, and that they 
were long enough for a man to lie in. The same func- 
tionary attributed the sanitary properties of the spring to 
the blessings of the Prophet, and, when asked why Moses 
had not made sweet water to flow, informed us that the 
Great Lawgiver had intended the spring for bathing in, 
not for drinking. We sat with him, eating the small 
yellow dates of Tur, which are delicious, melting like 
honey in the mouth, and leaving a surpassing arriere goiit. 
After finishing sundry pipes and cups of coffee, we gave 
the bath-man a few piastres, and, mounting our donkeys, 
started eastward for the Bir Musa, 2 which we reached in 
half an hour. It is a fine old work, built round and domed 
over with roughly squared stones, very like what may be 
seen in some rustic parts of Southern England. The 
sides of the pit were so rugged that a man could climb 
down them, and at the bottom was a pool of water, sweet 
and abundant. We had intended to stay there, and to 
dine al fresco, but the hated faces of our companions, the 
Maghrabis, meeting us at the entrance, nipped that pro- 
ject in the bud. Accordingly we retired from the burning 

i Adam's forehead (says the Tarikh Tabari) brushed the skies, 
but this height being inconvenient, the Lord abridged it to ioo 
cubits. The Moslems firmly believe in Anakim. Josephus informs 
us that Moses was of "divine form and great tallness"; the Arabs 
specify his stature, — 300 cubits. They have, moreover, found his 
grave in some parts of the country S.E, of the Dead Sea, and make 
cups of a kind of bitumen called " Moses' Stones." This people 
nescit ignorare — it will know everything. 

2 " Moses' Well." I have no argument except the untrustworthy 
traditions of the Badawin, either for or against this having been the 
identical well near which Moses sat when he fled from the face of 
Pharaoh to the land of Midian. One thing is certain, namely, that 
in this part of Arabia, as also at Aden, the wells are of a very ancient 

X. — The Pilgrim Ship. 205 

sun to a neighbouring coffee-house — a shed of palm leaves 
kept by a Tur man, and there, seated on mats, we 
demolished the contents of our basket. Whilst we were 
eating, some Badawin came in and joined us, when 
invited so to do. They were poorly dressed, and all 
armed with knives and cheap sabres, hanging to leathern 
bandoleers : in language and demeanour they showed 
few remains of their old ferocity. As late as Mohammed 
Ali's time these people were noted wreckers, and formerly 
they were dreaded pirates : now they are lions with their 
fangs and claws drawn. 

In the even, when we returned to our tent, a Syrian, 
one of our party on the poop, came out to meet us with 
the information that several large vessels had arrived from 
Suez, comparatively speaking, empty, and that the cap- 
tain of one of them would land us at Yambu' for three 
dollars a head. The proposal was tempting. But 
presently it became apparent that my companions were 
unwilling to shift their precious boxes, and moreover, 
that I should have to pay for those who could not or 
would not pay for themselves, — that is to say, for the 
whole party. As such a display of wealth would have been 
unadvisable, I dismissed the idea with a sigh. Amongst 
the large vessels was one freighted with Persian pilgrims, 
a most disagreeable race of men on a journey or a voyage. 
They would not land at first, because they feared the 
Badawin. They would not take water from the town 
people, because some of these were Christians. More- 
over, they insisted upon making their own call to prayer, 
which heretical proceeding — it admits five extra words — 
our party, orthodox Moslems, would rather have died 
than have permitted. When their crier, a small wizen- 
faced man, began the Azan with a voice 
" in quel tenore 
Che fa il cappon quando talvolta canta," 

we received it with a shout of derision, and some, hastily 

206 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

snatching up their weapons, offered him an opportunity 
of martyrdom. The Maghrabis, too, hearing that the 
Persians were Rafaz (heretics) crowded fiercely round to 
do a little Jihad, or Fighting for the Faith. The long- 
bearded men took the alarm. They were twice the 
number of our small party, and therefore they had been in 
the habit of strutting about with nonchalance, and looking 
at us fixedly, and otherwise demeaning themselves in an 
indecorous way. But when it came to the point, they 
showed the white feather. These Persians accompanied 
us to the end of our voyage. As they approached the 
Holy Land, visions of the "Nabbut" caused a change for 
the better in their manners. At Mahar they meekly 
endured a variety of insults, and at Yambu' they cringed 
to us like dogs. 




On the nth July, 1853, about dawn, we left Tur, 
after a pleasant halt, with the unpleasant certainty of not 
touching ground for thirty-six hours. I passed the time 
in steadfast contemplation of the web of my umbrella, 
and in making the following meteorological remarks. 

Morning. — The air is mild and balmy as that of an 
Italian spring ; thick mists roll down the valleys along 
the sea, and a haze like mother-o'-pearl crowns the head- 
lands. The distant rocks show Titanic walls, lofty don- 
jons, huge projecting bastions, and moats full of deep 
shade. At their base runs a sea of amethyst, and as 
earth receives the first touches of light, their summits, 
almost transparent, mingle with the jasper tints of the 
sky. Nothing can be more delicious than this hour. But 


" les plus belles choses 
Ont le pire destin," 

so lovely Morning soon fades. The sun bursts up from 
behind the main, a fierce enemy, a foe that will force every 
one to crouch before him. He dyes the sky orange, and 
the sea " incarnadine," where its violet surface is stained 
by his rays, and he mercilessly puts to flight the mists and 
haze and the little agate-coloured masses of cloud that were 
before floating in the firmament. The atmosphere is so 
clear that now and then a planet is visible. For the two 

208 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mcccah. 

hours following sunrise the rays are endurable ; after that 
they become a fiery ordeal. The morning beams oppress 
you with a feeling of sickness ; their steady glow, re- 
flected by the glaring waters, blinds your eyes, blisters 
your skin, and parches your mouth : you now become a 
monomaniac ; you do nothing but count the slow hours 
that must " minute by " before you can be relieved. 1 

Midday. — The wind, reverberated by the glow T ing hills 
is like the blast of a lime-kiln. All colour melts away 
with the canescence from above. The sky is a dead 
milk-white, and the mirror-like sea so reflects the tint 
that you can scarcely distinguish the line of the horizon. 
After noon the wind sleeps upon the reeking shore ; there 
is a deep stillness ; the only sound heard is the melan- 
choly flapping of the sail. Men are not so much sleeping 
as half-senseless ; they feel as if a few more degrees of 
heat would be death. 

Sunset. — The enemy sinks behind the deep cerulean 
sea, under a canopy of gigantic rainbow which covers 
half the face of heaven. Nearest to the horizon is an 
arch of tawny orange ; above it another of the brightest 
gold, and based upon these a semi-circle of tender sea- 
green blends with a score of delicate gradations into the 
sapphire sky. Across the rainbow the sun throws its rays 
in the form of giant wheel-spokes tinged with a beautiful 
pink. The Eastern sky is mantled with a purple flush that 
picks out the forms of the hazy Desert and the sharp-cut 
Hills. Language is a thing too cold, too poor, to express 
the harmony and the majesty of this hour, which is as 
evanescent, however, as it is lovely. Night falls rapidly, 
when suddenly the appearance of the Zodiacal Light 2 re- 

i The reader who has travelled in the East will feel that I am not 
exaggerating. And to convince those who know it only by descrip- 
tion, I will refer them to any account of our early campaigns in Sind, 
where many a European soldier has been taken up stone dead after 
sleeping an hour or two in the morning sun. 

2 The Zodiacal Light on the Red Sea, and in Bombay, is far 

XI. — To Yambu\ 209 

stores the scene to what it was. Again the grey hills and 
the grim rocks become rosy or golden, the palms green, 
the sands saffron, and the sea wears a lilac surface of 
dimpling waves. But after a quarter of an hour all fades 
once more ; the cliffs are naked and ghastly under the 
moon, whose light falling upon this wilderness of white 
crags and pinnacles is most strange — most mysterious. 

Night. — The horizon is all darkness, and the sea 
reflects the white visage of the night-sun as in a mirror of 
steel. In the air we see giant columns of pallid light, 
distinct, based upon the indigo-coloured waves, and 
standing with their heads lost in endless space. The 
stars glitter with exceeding brilliance. 1 At this hour are 
" — river and hill and wood, 

With all the numberless goings on of life, 

Inaudible as dreams " ; 

while the planets look down upon you with the faces of 
smiling friends. You feel the " sweet influence of the 
Pleiades." You are bound by the "bond of Orion." Hes- 
perus bears with him a thousand things. In communion 
with them your hours pass swiftly by, till the heavy dews 
warn you to cover up your face and sleep. And with 
one look at a certain little Star in the north, under which 
lies all that makes life worth living through — surely it 
is a venial superstition to sleep with your eyes towards 
that Kiblah! — you fall into oblivion. 

Those thirty-six hours were a trial even to the hard- 
headed Badawin. The Syrian and his two friends fell 
ill. Omar Effendi, it is true, had the courage to say his 

brighter than in England. I suppose this is the "after-glow" 
described by Miss Martineau and other travellers : " flashes of light 
like coruscations of the Aurora Borealis in pyramidal form " would 
exactly describe the phenomenon. It varies, however, greatly, and 
often for some days together is scarcely visible. 

1 Niebuhr considers that the stars are brighter in Norway than 
in the Arabian deserts ; I never saw them so bright as on the Neil- 
gherry hills. 
VOL. I. 14 

210 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

sunset prayers, but the exertion so altered him that he 
looked another man. Salih Shakkar in despair ate dates 
till threatened with a dysentery. Sa'ad the Demon had 
rigged out for himself a cot three feet long, which, arched 
over with bent bamboo, and covered with cloaks, he had 
slung on to the larboard side ; but the loud grumbling which 
proceeded from his nest proved that his precaution had 
not been a cure. Even the boy Mohammed forgot to 
chatter, to scold, to smoke, and to make himself gen- 
erally disagreeable. The Turkish baby appeared to be 
dying, and was not strong enough to wail. How the poor 
mother stood her trials so well, made every one wonder. 
The most pleasant trait in my companions' characters was 
the consideration they showed to her, and their attention 
to her children. Whenever one of the party drew forth 
a little delicacy — a few dates or a pomegranate — they 
gave away a share of it to the children, and most of them 
took their turns to nurse the baby. This was genuine 
politeness — kindness of heart. It would be well for those 
who sweepingly accuse Easterns of want of gallantry, to 
contrast this trait of character with the savage scenes of 
civilisation that take place among the " Overlands " at 
Cairo and Suez. 1 No foreigner could be present for the 
first time without bearing away the lasting impression 
that the sons of Great Britain are model barbarians. 2 
On board the " Golden Wire " Salih Shakkar was the 
sole base exception to the general geniality of my com- 

As the sun starts towards the West, falling harm- 
lessly upon our heads, we arise, still faint and dizzy, 
calling for water — which before we had not the strength 

i Written in the days of the vans, which preceded the Railway. 

2 On one occasion I was obliged personally to exert myself to 
prevent a party of ladies being thrust into an old and bad transit- 
van ; the ruder sex having stationed itself at some distance from the 
starting-place in order to seize upon the best. 

XI. — To YamhC. 211 

to drink — and pipes, and coffee, and similar luxuries. 
Our primitive kitchen is a square wooden box, lined with 
clay, and filled with sand, upon which three or four large 
stones are placed to form a hearth. Preparations are 
now made for the evening meal, which is of the simplest 
description. A little rice, a few dates, or an onion, will 
keep a man alive in our position ; a single " good dinner " 
would justify long odds against his seeing the next even- 
ing. Moreover, it is impossible in such cases to have an 
appetite — fortunately, as our store of provisions is a scanty 
one. Arabs consider it desirable on a journey to eat 
hot food once in the twenty-four hours ; so we determine 
to cook, despite all difficulties. The operation, however, 
is by no means satisfactory ; twenty expectants surround 
the single fire, and there is sure to be a quarrel amongst 
them every five minutes. 

As the breeze, cooled by the dew, begins to fan our 
parched faces, we recover our spirits amazingly. Songs 
are sung ; tales are told ; and rough jests are bandied 
about till, not unfrequently, Oriental sensitiveness is sorely 
tried. Or, if we see the prospect of storm or calm, 
we draw forth, and piously peruse, a " Hizb al-Bahr." 
As this prayer is supposed to make all safe upon the 
ocean wave, I will not selfishly withhold it from the 
British reader. To draw forth all its virtues, the reciter 
should receive it from the hands of his Murshid or 
spiritual guide, and study it during the Chilian, or forty 
days of fast, of which, I venture to observe, few Sons of 
Bull are capable. 

" O Allah, O Exalted, O Almighty, O All-pitiful, O 
All-powerful, Thou art my God, and sufficeth to me the 
knowledge of it ! Glorified be the Lord my Lord, and 
glorified be the Faith my Faith ! Thou givest Victory 
to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou art the Glorious, the 
Merciful ! We pray Thee for Safety in our goings forth and 
our standings still, in our Words and our Designs, in our 

212 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Dangers of Temptation and Doubt, and the secret Designs 
of our Hearts. Subject unto us this Sea, even as Thou 
didst subject the Deep to Musa" (Moses), "and as Thou 
didst subject the Fire to Ibrahim * " (Abraham), " and as 
Thou didst subject the Iron to Daud 2 " (David), " and as 
Thou didst subject the Wind and the Devils and Jinnis 
and Mankind to Sulayman 3 " (Solomon), "and as Thou 
didst subject the Moon and Al-Burak to Mohammed, upon 
whom be Allah's Mercy and His Blessing ! And subject 
unto us all the Seas in Earth and Heaven, in Thy visible 
and in Thine invisible Worlds, the Sea of this Life, and 
the Sea of Futurity. O Thou who reignest over every- 
thing, and unto whom all Things return, Khyas ! Khyas ! 
Khyas 4 !" 

And lastly, we lie down upon our cribs, wrapped up 
in thickly padded cotton coverlets ; we forget the troubles 
of the past day, and we care nought for the discomforts 
of that to come. 

Late on the evening of the nth July we passed in 
sight of the narrow mouth of Al-'Akabah, whose famosi 
nipes are a terror to the voyagers of these latitudes. Like 
the Gulf of Cambay, here a tempest is said to be always 
brewing, and men raise their hands to pray as they cross 
it. We had no storm that day from without, but a fierce 
one was about to burst within our ship. The essence of 
Oriental discipline is personal respect based upon fear. 
Therefore it often happens that the commanding officer, 

i Abraham, for breaking his father's idols, was cast by Nimrod 
into a fiery furnace, which forthwith became a garden of roses. (See 
Chapter xxi. of the Koran, called " the Prophets.") 

2 David worked as an armourer, but the steel was as wax in his 

3 Solomon reigned over the three orders of created beings : the 
fable of his flying carpet is well known. (See Chapter xxvii. of the 
Koran, called " the Ant.") 

4 These are mystic words, and entirely beyond the reach of dic- 
tionaries and vocabularies. 

XI. — To YambiC. 213 

if a mild old gentleman, is the last person whose com- 
mand is obeyed, — his only privilege being that of sitting 
apart from his inferiors. And such was the case with our 
Rais. On the present occasion, irritated by the refusal 
of the Maghrabis to stand out of the steerman's way, 
and excited by the prospect of losing sight of shore for a 
whole day, he threatened one of the fellows with his 
slipper. It required all our exertions, even to a display 
of the dreaded quarter-staves, to calm the consequent ex- 
citement. After passing Al-'Akabah, we saw nothing but 
sea and sky, and we spent a weary night and day tossing 
upon the waters, our only exercise ; every face bright- 
ened as, about sunset on the 12th July, we suddenly 
glided into the mooring-place. 

Marsa (anchorage) Damghah, 1 or rather Dumayghah, 
is scarcely visible from the sea. An islet of limestone 
rock defends the entrance, leaving a narrow passage to 
the south. It is not before he enters that the mariner 
discovers the extent and the depth of this creek, which 
indents far into the land, and offers 15 to 20 feet of fine 
clear anchorage which no swell can reach. Inside it 
looks more like a lake, and at night its colour is gloriously 
blue as Geneva itself. I could not help calling to mind, 
after dinner, the old school lines — 

" Est in secessu longo locus ; insula portum 
Efficit objectu laterum ; quibus omnis ab alto 
Frangitur, inque sinus scindit sese unda reductos." 

Nothing was wanted but the " atrum nemus." Where 
however, shall we find such luxuries in arid Arabia ? 

The Rais, as usual, attempted to deter us from land- 
ing, by romancing about the " Bedoynes and Ascopards," 
representing them to be " folke ryghte felonouse and 
foule and of cursed kynde." To which we replied by 
shouldering our Nabbuts and scrambling into the cock- 

1 In Moresby's Survey, " Sherm Demerah," the creek of De- 
merah. Ali Bey calls it Demeg. 

214 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca li. 

boat. On shore we saw a few wretched-looking beings, 
Juhaynah 1 or Hutaym, seated upon heaps of dried wood, 
which they sold to travellers ; and three boat-loads of 
Syrian pilgrims who had preceded us. We often envied 
them their small swift craft, with their double latine sails 
disposed in " hare-ears" which, about eventide in the far 
distance, looked like a white gull alighting upon the purple 
wave ; and they justified our jealousy by arriving at 
Yambu' two days before us. The pilgrims had bivouacked 
upon the beach, and were engaged in drinking their after- 
dinner coffee. They received us with all the rights of 
hospitality, as natives of Al-Madinah should everywhere 
be received ; we sat an hour with them, ate a little fruit, 
satisfied our thirst, smoked their pipes, and when taking 
leave blessed them. Then returning to the vessel we fed, 
and lost no time in falling asleep. 

The dawn of the next day saw our sail flapping in 
the idle air. And it was not without difficulty that in 
the course of the forenoon we entered Wijh Harbour, 
distant from Dumayghah but very few miles. Al-Wijh 
is also a natural anchorage, in no way differing from that 
where we passed the night, except in being smaller and 
shallower and less secure. From this place to Cairo the 
road is safe. The town is a collection of round huts 
meanly built of round stones, and clustering upon a piece 
of elevated rock on the northern side of the creek. It is 

i See "The Land of Midian (Revisited)" for a plan of Al- 
Dumayghah, and a description of Al-Wijh (al-Bahr) These men of 
the Beni Jahaynah, or "Juhaynah" tribe — the " Beni Kalb," as 
they are also called,— must not be trusted. They extend from the 
plains north of Yambu' into the Sinaitic Peninsula. They boast no 
connection with the great tribe Al-Harb ; but they are of noble race, 
are celebrated for fighting, and, it is said, have good horses. The 
specimens we saw at Marsa Dumayghah were poor ones, they had 
few clothes, and no arms except the usual Jambiyah (crooked dagger). 
By their civility and their cringing style of address it was easy to see 
they had been corrupted by intercourse with strangers. 

XI. — To YamhC. 215 

distant about six miles from the inland fort of the same 
name, which receives the Egyptian caravan, and which 
thrives, like its port, by selling water and provisions to 
pilgrims. The little bazar, almost washed by every high 
tide, provided us with mutton, rice, baked bread, and the 
other necessaries of life at a moderate rate. Luxuries 
also were to be found : a druggist sold me an ounce of 
opium at a Chinese price. 

With reeling limbs we landed at Al-Wijh, 1 and find- 
ing a large coffee-house above and near the beach, we 
installed ourselves there. But the Persians who preceded 
us had occupied all the shady places outside, and were 
correcting their teeth with their case knives ; we were 
forced to content ourselves with the interior. It was a 
building of artless construction, consisting of little but a 
roof supported by wooden posts, roughly hewn from date 
trees : round the tamped earthen floor ran a raised bench 
of unbaked brick, forming a diwan for mats and sleeping- 
rugs. In the centre a huge square Mastabah, or platform, 
answered a similar purpose. Here and there appeared 
attempts at long and side walls, but these superfluities had 
been allowed to admit daylight through large gaps. In 
one corner stood the apparatus of the " Kahwahji," an 
altar-like elevation, also of earthen-work, containing a 
hole for a charcoal fire, upon which were three huge coffee- 
pots dirtily tinned. Near it were ranged the Shishas, or 
Egyptian hookahs, old, exceedingly unclean, and worn by 
age and hard work. A wooden framework, pierced with 
circular apertures, supported a number of porous earthen- 
ware gullehs (gargoulettes, or monkey jars) full of cold, 
sweet water ; the charge for each was, as usual in Al- 
Hijaz, five paras. Such was the furniture of the cafe, 
and the only relief to the barrenness of the view was a 
fine mellowing atmosphere composed of smoke, steam, 

1 It is written Wish and Wejh ; by Ali Bey Vadjeh and Wadjih ; 
Wodjeh and Wosh by Burckhardt ; and Wedge by Moresby. 

216 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

flies, and gnats in about equal proportions. I have been 
diffuse in my description of the coffee-house, as it was a 
type of its class : from Alexandria to Aden the traveller 
will everywhere meet with buildings of the same kind. 

Our happiness in this Paradise — for such it was to 
us after the "Golden Wire" — was nearly sacrificed by 
Sa'ad the Demon, whose abominable temper led him 
at once into a quarrel with the master of the cafe. 
And the latter, an ill-looking, squint-eyed, low-browed, 
broad-shouldered fellow, showed himself nowise unwilling 
to meet the Demon half way. The two worthies, after a 
brief bandying of bad words, seized each other's throats 
leisurely, so as to give the spectators time and encourage- 
ment to interfere. But when friends and acquaintances 
were hanging on to both heroes so firmly that they could 
not move hand or arm, their wrath, as usual, rose, till it 
was terrible to see. The little village resounded with the 
war, and many a sturdy knave rushed in, sword or 
cudgel in hand, so as not to lose the sport. During the 
heat of the fray, a pistol which was in Omar Effendi's 
hand went off — accidentally of course — and the ball 
passed so close to the tins containing the black and 
muddy Mocha, that it drew the attention of all parties. 
As if by magic, the storm was lulled. A friend recog- 
nised Sa'ad the Demon, and swore that he was no black 
slave, but a soldier at Al-Madinah — " no waiter, but a 
Knight Templar." This caused him to be looked upon as 
rather a distinguished man, and he proved his right to the 
honour by insisting that his late enemy should feed with 
him, and when the other decorously hung back, by drag- 
ging him to dinner with loud cries. 

My alias that day was severely tried. Besides the 
Persian pilgrims, a number of nondescripts who came 
in the same vessel were hanging about the coffee-house ; 
lying down, smoking, drinking water, bathing and pick- 
ing their teeth with their daggers. One inquisitive man 

XL— To Yambu. 217 

was always at my side. He called himself a Pathan 
(Afghan settled in India) ; he could speak five or six 
languages, he knew a number of people everywhere, and 
he had travelled far and wide over Central Asia. These fel- 
lows are always good detectors of an incognito. I avoided 
answering his question about my native place, and after 
telling him that I had no longer name or nation, being a 
Darwaysh, I asked him, when he insisted upon my having 
been born somewhere, to guess for himself. To my joy 
he claimed me for a brother Pathan, and in course of 
conversation he declared himself to be the nephew of an 
Afghan merchant, a gallant old man who had been civil 
to me at Cairo. We then sat smoking together with 
" effusion." Becoming confidential, he complained that 
he, a Sunni, or orthodox Moslem, had been abused, mal- 
treated, and beaten by his fellow-travellers, the heretical 
Persian pilgrims. I naturally offered to arm my party, to 
take up our cudgels, and to revenge my compatriot. This 
thoroughly Sulaymanian style of doing business could not 
fail to make him sure of his man. He declined, however, 
wisely remembering that he had nearly a fortnight of the 
Persians' society still to endure. But he promised him- 
self the gratification, when he reached Meccah, of 
sheathing his Charay 1 in the chief offender's heart. 

At 8 a.M. on the 14th July we left Al-Wijh, after pass- 
ing a night, tolerably comfortable by contrast, in the coffee- 
house. We took with us the stores necessary, for though 
our Rais had promised to anchor under Jabal Hassani that 
evening, no one believed him. We sailed among ledges of 
rock, golden sands, green weeds, and in some places 
through yellow lines of what appeared to me at a distance 
foam after a storm. All day a sailor sat upon the mast- 
head, looking at the water, which was transparent as blue 
glass, and shouting out the direction. This precaution 
was somewhat stultified by the roar of voices, which never 

1 The terrible Afghan knife. 

218 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

failed to mingle with the warning, but we wore every half 
hour, and we did not run aground. About midday we 
passed by Shaykh Hasan al-Marabit's tomb. It is the 
usual domed and whitewashed building, surrounded by 
the hovels of its guardians, standing upon a low flat island 
of yellow rock, vividly reminding me of certain scenes in 
Sind. Its dreary position attracts to it the attention of 
passing travellers ; the dead saint has a prayer and a 
Fatihah for the good of his soul, and the live sinner wends 
his way with religious refreshment. 

Near sunset the wind came on to blow freshly, and 
we cast anchor together with the Persian pilgrims upon 
a rock. This was one of the celebrated coral reefs of the 
Red Sea, and the sight justified Forskal's emphatic de- 
scription — luxus lususque natuva. It was a huge ledge 
or platform rising but little above the level of the deep ; 
the water-side was perpendicular as the wall of a fort; 
and, whilst a frigate might have floated within a yard of it, 
every ripple dashed over the reef, replenishing the little 
basins and hollows in the surface. The colour of the 
waves near it was a vivid amethyst. In the distance the 
eye rested upon what appeared to be meadows of brilliant 
flowers resembling those of earth, only far brighter and 
more lovely. Nor was this Land of the Sea wholly deso- 
late. Gulls and terns here swam the tide ; there, seated 
upon the coral, devoured their prey. In the air, troops of 
birds contended noisily for a dead flying fish, 1 and in the 
deep water they chased a shoal, which, in fright and 
hurry to escape the pursuers, veiled the surface with 

i These the Arabs, in the vulgar tongue, call Jarad al-Bahr, " sea 
locusts"; as they term the shrimp Burghut al-Bahr, or the sea-flea. 
Such compound words, palpably derived from land objects, prove the 
present Ichthyophagi and the Badawin living on the coast to be a race 
originally from the interior. Pure and ancient Arabs still have at 
least one uncompounded word to express every object familiar to 
them, and it is in this point that the genius of the language chiefly 
shows itself. 

XL— To Yambu\ 


spray and foam. And as night came on the scene shifted, 
displaying fresh beauties. Shadows clothed the back- 
ground, whose features, dimly revealed, allowed full scope 
to the imagination. In the forepart of the picture lay the 
sea, shining under the rays of the moon with a metallic 
lustre ; while its border, where the wavelets dashed upon 
the reef, was lit by what the Arabs call the "jewels of 
the deep 1 " — brilliant flashes of phosphoric light giving an 
idea of splendour which Art would vainly strive to imitate. 
Altogether it was a bit of fairyland, a spot for nymphs 
and sea-gods to disport upon : you might have heard, 
without astonishment, old Proteus calling his flocks with 
the writhed conch; and Aphrodite seated in her shell 
would have been only a fit and proper climax for its love- 

But — as philosophically remarked by Sir Cauline the 
Knyghte — 

" Every whyte must have its blacke, 
And every sweete its soure — " 

this charming coral reef was nearly being the scene of an 
ugly accident. The breeze from seaward set us slowly 
but steadily towards the reef, a fact of which we soon 
became conscious. Our anchor was not dragging ; it 
had not rope enough to touch the bottom, and vainly we 
sought for more. In fact the "Golden Wire" was as 
disgracefully deficient in all the appliances of safety, as 
any English merchantman in the nineteenth century, — a 
circumstance which accounts for the shipwrecks and for 
the terrible loss of life perpetually occurring about the Pil- 
grimage-season in these seas. Had she struck upon the 
razor-like edges of the coral-reef, she would have melted 

1 The Arab superstition is, that these flashes of light are jewels 
made to adorn the necks and hair of the mermaids and mermen. 
When removed from their native elements the gems fade and dis- 
appear. If I remember right, there is some idea similar to this 
among the Scotch, and other Northern people. 

220 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

away like a sugar-plum in the ripple, for the tide was 
rising at the time. Having nothing better to do, we began 
to make as much noise as possible. Fortunately for us, 
the Rais commanding the Persian's boat was an Arab 
from Jeddah ; and more than once we had treated him 
with great civility. Guessing the cause of our distress, 
he sent two sailors overboard with a cable ; they swam 
gallantly up to us ; and in a few minutes we were safely 
moored to the stern of our useful neighbour. Which done, 
we applied ourselves to the grateful task of beating our 
Rais, and richly had he deserved it. Before noon, when 
the wind was shifting, he had not once given himself the 
trouble to wear ; and when the breeze was falling, he 
preferred dosing to taking advantage of what little wind 
remained. With energy we might have been moored that 
night comfortably under the side of Hassani Island, 
instead of floating about on an unquiet sea with a lee- 
shore of coral-reef within a few yards of our counter. 

At dawn the next day (15th July) we started. We 
made Jabal Hassani 1 about noon, and an hour or so 
before sunset we glided into Marsa Mahar. Our rest- 
ing-place resembled Marsa Dumayghah at an humble 
distance ; the sides of the cove, however, were bolder 
and more precipitous. The limestone rocks presented 
a peculiar appearance; in some parts the base and 
walls had crumbled away, leaving a coping to pro- 
ject like a canopy ; in others the wind and rain 
had cut deep holes, and pierced the friable material 
with caverns that looked like the work of art. There 
was a pretty opening of backwood at the bottom of the 

1 The word Jabal will frequently occur in these pages. It is 
applied by the Arabs to any rising ground or heap of rocks, and, 
therefore, must not always be translated " Mountain." In the latter 
sense, it has found its way into some of the Mediterranean dialects. 
Gibraltar is Jabal al-Tarik, and " Mt. Ethne that men clepen Mounte 
Gybelle " is " Monte Gibello," — the mountain, par excellence. 

XL — To YamhC. 221 

cove ; and palm trees in the blue distance gladdened our 
eyes, which pined for the sight of something green. The 
Rais, as usual, would have terrified us with a description 
of the Hutaym tribe that holds these parts, and I knew 
from Welsted and Moresby that it is a debased race. 
But forty-eight hours of cramps on board ship would 
make a man think lightly of a much more imminent 

Wading to shore we cut our feet with the sharp 
rocks. I remember to have felt the acute pain of some- 
thing running into my toe : but after looking at the place 
and extracting what appeared to be a bit of thorn, 1 I dis- 
missed the subject, little guessing the trouble it was to 
give me. Having scaled the rocky side of the cove, we 
found some half-naked Arabs lying in the shade ; they 
were unarmed, and had nothing about them except their 
villainous countenances wherewith to terrify the most 
timid. These men still live in limestone caves, like the 
Thamud tribe of tradition ; also they are Ichthyophagi, 
existing without any other subsistence but what the sea 
affords. They were unable to provide us with dates, flesh, 
or milk, but they sold us a kind of fish called in India 
" Bui": broiled upon the embers, it proved delicious. 

After we had eaten and drunk and smoked, we began 
to make merry; and the Persians, who, fearing to come 
on shore, had kept to their conveyance, appeared proper 
butts for the wit of some of our party : one of us stood 
up and pronounced the orthodox call to prayer, after which 
the rest joined in a polemical hymn, exalting the virtues 

1 It was most probably a prickle of the " egg-fruit," or Echinus, 
so common in these seas, generally supposed to be poisonous. I 
found it impossible to cure my foot in Al-Hijaz, and every remedy 
seemed to make it worse. This was as much the effect of the climate 
of Arabia, as of the hardships and privations of a pilgrimage. After 
my return to Egypt in the autumn, the wound healed readily with- 
out medical treatment. 

222 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

and dignity of the first three Caliphs. 1 Then, as general 
on such occasions, the matter was made personal by 
informing the Persians in a kind of rhyme sung by the 
Meccan gamins, that they were the " slippers of Ali and 
the dogs of Omar." But as they were too frightened to 
reply, my companions gathered up their cooking utensils, 
and returned to the " Golden Wire," melancholy, like 
disappointed candidates for the honours of Donnybrook. 

Our next day was silent and weary, for we were all 
surly, and heartily sick of being on board ship. We should 
have made Yambu' in the evening but for the laziness of 
the Rais. Having duly beaten him, we anchored on the 
open coast, insufficiently protected by a reef, and almost 
in sight of our destination. In the distance rose Jabal 
Radhwah or Radhwa, 2 one of the "Mountains of Paradise 3 " 
in which honoured Arabia abounds. It is celebrated by 
poetry as well as by piety. 

" Did Radhwah strive to support my woes, 
Radhwah itself would be crushed by the weight," 

says Antar. 4 It supplies Al-Madinah with hones. I 
heard much of its valleys and fruits and bubbling springs, 
but afterwards I learned to rank these tales with the super- 
stitious legends which are attached to it. Gazing at its 
bare and ghastly heights, one of our party, whose wit 
was soured by the want of fresh bread, surlily remarked 
that such a heap of ugliness deserved ejection from 
heaven, — an irreverence too public to escape general 
denunciation. We waded on shore, cooked there, and 

i Abu Bakr, Omar, and Osman. 

2 I have found both these forms of writing the word in books ; 
Moresby, or rather Mr. Rassam, erroneously spells it " Ridwah." 

3 In a future chapter, when describing a visit to Mt. Ohod, near 
Al-Madinah, I shall enter into some details about these " Mountains 
of Paradise." 

4 The translator, however, erroneously informs us, in a foot- 
note, that Radhwah is a mountain near Meccah. 

XI. — To Yambu\ 223 

passed the night ; we were short of fresh water, which, 
combined with other grievances, made us as surly as 
bears. Sa'ad the Demon was especially vicious; his eyes 
gazed fixedly on the ground, his lips protruded till you 
might have held up his face by them, his mouth was gar- 
nished with bad wrinkles, and he never opened it but he 
grumbled out a wicked word. He solaced himself that 
evening by crawling slowly on all-fours over the boy 
Mohammed, taking scrupulous care to place one knee upon 
the sleeper's face. The youth awoke in a fiery rage : we 
all roared with laughter ; and the sulky Negro, after 
savouring the success of his spite, grimly, as but half 
satisfied, rolled himself, like a hedgehog, into a ball ; and, 
resolving to be offensive even in his forgetfulness, snored 
violently all night. 

We slept upon the sands and arose before dawn 
(July 17), determined to make the Rais start in time that 
day. A slip of land separated us from our haven, but 
the wind was foul, and by reason of rocks and shoals, we 
had to make a considerable detour. 

It was about noon on the twelfth day after our 
departure from Suez, when, after slowly beating up the 
narrow creek leading to Yambu' harbour, we sprang into 
a shore-boat and felt new life when bidding an eternal 
adieu to the vile " Golden Wire." 

I might have escaped much of this hardship and 
suffering by hiring a vessel to myself. There would then 
have been a cabin to retire into at night, and shade from 
the sun ; moreover, the voyage would have lasted five, not 
twelve, days. But I wished to witness the scenes on 
board a pilgrim ship, — scenes so much talked of by the 
Moslem palmer home-returned. Moreover, the hire was 
exorbitant, ranging from ^40 to ^"50, and it would have 
led to a greater expenditure, as the man who can afford to 
take a boat must pay in proportion during his land 

224 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca h. 

journey. In these countries you perforce go on as you 
begin: to ''break one's expenditure," that is to say, to 
retrench expenses, is considered all but impossible. We 
have now left the land of Egypt. 




The heat of the sun, the heavy dews, and the fre- 
quent washings of the waves, had so affected my foot, 
that on landing at Yambu' I could scarcely place it upon 
the ground. But traveller's duty was to be done ; so, 
leaning upon my "slave's" shoulder, I started at once to 
see the town, whilst Shaykh Hamid and the others of 
our party proceeded to the custom-house. 

Yanbu'a al-Bahr, Yambu' or Fountain of the Sea, 1 
identified, by Abyssinian Bruce, with the Iambia village 
of Ptolemy, is a place of considerable importance, and 
shares with others the title of " Gate of the Holy City." 
It is the third quarter of the caravan road' 2 from Cairo to 
Meccah ; and here, as well as at Al-Badr, pilgrims fre- 
quently leave behind them, in hired warehouses, goods 
too heavy to be transported in haste, or too valuable to 
risk in dangerous times. Yambu' being the port of Al- 

i Yanbu'a in Arabic is " a Fountain." Yanbu'a of the Sea is so 
called to distinguish it from "Yanbu'a of the Palm-Grounds," a village 
at the foot of the mountains, about 18 or 20 miles distant from the 
sea-port. Ali Bey places it one day's journey E. ^ N.E. from Yanbu'a 
al-Bahr, and describes it as a pleasant place in a fertile valley. It is 
now known as Yambu'a al-Nakhil. See "The Land of Midian 

2 The first quarter of the Cairo caravan is Al-Akabah ; the second 
is the Manhal Salmah (Salmah's place for watering camels) ; the 
third is Yambu' ; and the fourth Meccah. 
VOL. 1. 15 

226 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Madinah, as Jeddah is of Meccah, is supported by a 
considerable transport trade and extensive imports from 
the harbours on the Western coasts of the Red Sea ; it 
supplies its chief town with grain, dates, and henna. 
Here the Sultan's dominion is supposed to begin, whilst 
the authority of the Pasha of Egypt ceases ; there is no 
Nizam, or Regular Army, however, in the town, 1 and the 
governor is a Sharif or Arab chief. I met him in the 
great bazar ; he is a fine young man of light complexion 
and the usual high profile, handsomely dressed, with a 
Cashmere turband, armed to the extent of sword and 
dagger, and followed by two large, fierce-looking Negro 
slaves leaning upon enormous Nabbuts. 

The town itself is in no wise remarkable. Built on 
the edge of a sunburnt plain that extends between the 
mountains and the sea, it fronts the northern extremity 
of a narrow winding creek. Viewed from the harbour, it 
is a long line of buildings, whose painful whiteness is set 
off by a sky-like cobalt and a sea-like indigo ; behind it 
lies the flat, here of a bistre-brown, there of a lively 
tawny ; whilst the background is formed by dismal Radh- 

" Barren and bare, unsightly, unadorned." 

Outside the walls are a few little domes and tombs, 
which by no means merit attention. Inside, the streets 
are wide ; and each habitation is placed at an unsociable 
distance from its neighbour, except near the port and the 
bazars, where ground is valuable. The houses are 
roughly built of limestone and coralline, and their walls 
full of fossils crumble like almond cake ; they have huge 

i The Nizam, as Europeans now know, is the regular Turkish 
infantry. In Al-Hijaz, these troops are not stationed in small towns 
like Yambu'. At such places a party of Irregular horse, for the pur- 
pose of escorting travellers, is deemed sufficient. The Yambu' police 
seems to consist of the Sharif's sturdy negroes. In Ali Bey's time 
Yambu' belonged to the Sharif of Meccah, and was garrisoned by 

XII. — The Halt at Yambu . 227 

hanging windows, and look mean after those in the Mos- 
lem quarters of Cairo. There is a "Suk," or market- 
street of the usual form, a long narrow lane darkened by 
a covering of palm leaves, with little shops let into the 
walls of the houses on both sides. The cafes, which 
abound here, have already been described in the last 
chapter ; they are rendered dirty in the extreme by travel- 
lers, and it is impossible to sit in them without a fan to 
drive away the flies. The custom-house fronts the land- 
ing-place upon the harbour ; it is managed by Turkish 
officials, — men dressed in Tarbushes, who repose the live- 
long day upon the Diwans near the windows. In the case 
of us travellers they had a very simple way of doing 
business, charging each person of the party three piastres 
for each large box, but by no means troubling themselves 
to meddle with the contents. 1 Yambu' also boasts of a 
Hammam or hot bath, a mere date-leaf shed, tenanted by 
an old Turk, who, with his surly Albanian assistant, lives 
by "cleaning" pilgrims and travellers. Some white- 
washed Mosques and Minarets of exceedingly simple form, 
a Wakalah or two for the reception of merchants, and a 
saint's tomb, complete the list of public buildings. 

In one point Yambu' claims superiority over most 
other towns in this part of Al-Hijaz. Those who can 
afford the luxury drink sweet rain-water, collected amongst 
the hills in tanks and cisterns, and brought on camel- 
back to the town. Two sources are especially praised, the 
Ayn al-Birkat and the Ayn Ali, which suffice to supply 
the whole population : the brackish water of the wells 
is confined to coarser purposes. Some of the old people 
here, as at Suez, are said to prefer the drink to which 

1 This, as far as I could learn, is the only tax which the Sultan's 
government derives from the northern Hijaz ; the people declare it to 
be, as one might expect at this distance from the capital, liable to 
gross peculation. When the Wahhabis held Yambu', they assessed it, 
like all other places ; for which reason their name is held in the 
liveliest abhorrence. 

228 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

years of habit have accustomed them, and it is a standing 
joke that, arrived at Cairo, they salt the water of the Nile 
to make it palatable. 

The population of Yambu' — one of the most bigoted 
and quarrelsome races in Al-Hijaz — strikes the eye after 
arriving from Egypt, as decidedly a new feature. The 
Shaykh or gentleman is over-armed and over-dressed, 
as Fashion, the Tyrant of the Desert as well as of 
the Court, dictates to a person of his consequence. The 
civilised traveller from Al-Madinah sticks in his waist- 
shawl a loaded pistol, ] garnished with crimson silk cord, 
but he partially conceals the butt-end under the flap of 
his jacket. The Irregular soldier struts down the street 
a small armoury of weapons : one look at the man's 
countenance suffices to tell you what he is. Here and 
there stalk grim Badawin, wild as their native wastes, 
and in all the dignity of pride and dirt ; they also are 
armed to the teeth, and even the presence of the police- 
man's quarterstafP cannot keep their swords in their 
scabbards. What we should call the peaceful part of the 
population never leave the house without the " Nabbut" 
over the right shoulder, and the larger, the longer, and the 
heavier the weapon is, the more gallantry does the bearer 
claim. The people of Yambu' practise the use of this 
implement diligently ; they become expert in delivering 

i Civilians usually stick one pistol in the belt ; soldiers and fight- 
ing men two, or more, with all the necessary concomitants of pouches, 
turnscrews, and long iron ramrods, which, opening with a screw, dis- 
close a long thin pair of pincers, wherewith fire is put upon the 

2 The weapons with which nations are to be managed form a 
curious consideration. The Englishman tamely endures a staff, which 
would make a Frenchman mad with anger ; and a Frenchman respects 
a sabre, which would fill an Englishman's bosom with civilian spleen. 
You order the Egyptian to strip and be flogged ; he makes no objec- 
tion to seeing his blood flow in this way ; but were a cutting weapon 
used, his friends would stop at nothing in their fury. 

XII.— The Halt at Yambu\ 229 

a head-blow so violent as to break through any guard, 
and with it they always decide their trivial quarrels. 1 
The dress of the women differs but little from that of the 
Egyptians, except in the face veil, 2 which is generally 
white. There is an independent bearing about the Yambu' 
men, strange in the East ; they are proud without inso- 
lence, and they look manly without blustering. Their walk 
partakes somewhat of the nature of a swagger, owing, per- 
haps, to the shape of the sandals, not a little assisted by 
the self-esteem of the wearer, but there is nothing offen- 
sive in it : moreover, the population has a healthy appear- 
ance, and, fresh from Egypt, I could not help noticing 
their freedom from ophthalmic disease. The children, 
too, appear vigorous, nor are they here kept in that state 
of filth to which fear of the Evil Eye devotes them in the 
Valley of the Nile. 

My companions found me in a coffee-house, where I 
had sat down to rest from the fatigue of halting on my 
wounded foot through the town. They had passed their 
boxes through the custom-house, and were now inquiring 
in all directions, "Where's the Effendi ?" After sitting 
for half an hour, we rose to depart, when an old Arab 
merchant, whom I had met at Suez, politely insisted 

1 In Arabia, generally, the wound is less considered by justice 
and revenge, than the instrument with which it was inflicted. Sticks 
and stones are held to be venial weapons : guns and pistols, swords 
and daggers, are felonious. 

2 Europeans inveigh against this article, — which 
represents the " loup" of Louis XIV. 's time, — for 
its hideousness and jealous concealment of charms 
made to be admired. It is, on the contrary, the 
most coquettish article of woman's attire, except- 
ing, perhaps, the Lisam of Constantinople. It con- 
ceals coarse skins, fleshy noses, wide mouths, and 
vanishing chins, whilst it sets off to best advantage 
what in these lands is almost always lustrous and 
liquid — the eye. Who has not remarked this at a 
masquerade ball ? 

230 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

upon paying for my coffee, still a mark of attention in 
Arabia as it was whilome in France. We then went to a 
Wakalah, near the bazar, in which my companions had 
secured an airy upper room on the terrace opposite the 
sea, and tolerably free from Yambu's plague, the flies. 
It had been tenanted by a party of travellers, who were 
introduced to me as Omar Effendi's brothers ; he had by 
accident met them in the streets the day before their 
start for Constantinople, where they were travelling to 
receive the Ikram. 1 The family was, as I have said 
before, from Daghistan (Circassia), and the male mem- 
bers still showed unequivocal signs of a northern origin, 
in light yellowish skins, grey eyes fringed with dark 
lashes, red lips, and a very scant beard. They were 
broad-shouldered, large-limbed men, distinguished only 
by a peculiar surliness of countenance ; perhaps their 
expression was the result of their suspecting me ; for 
I observed them narrowly watching every movement 
during Wuzu and prayers. This was a good oppor- 
tunity for displaying the perfect nonchalance of a True 
Believer; and my efforts were, I believe, successful, for 
afterwards they seemed to treat me as a mere stranger, 
from whom they could expect nothing, and who there- 
fore was hardly worth their notice. 

On the afternoon of the day of our arrival we sent 
for a Mukharrij, 2 (hirer of conveyance) and began to 
treat for camels. One Amm Jamal, a respectable 
native of Al-Madinah who was on his way home, under- 
took to be the spokesman ; after a long palaver (for 

1 A certain stipend allowed by the Sultan to citizens of the Hara- 
mayn (Meccah and Al-Madinah). It will be treated of at length in a 
future chapter. 

2 The Shaykh, or agent of the camels, without whose assistance 
it would be difficult to hire beasts. He brings the Badawin with 
him; talks them over to fair terms; sees the "Arbun," or earnest- 
money, delivered to them ; and is answerable for their not failing in 
their engagement. 

XII. — The Halt at Yambu\ 231 

the Shaykh of the camels and his attendant Badawin 
were men that fought for farthings, and we were not 
far inferior to them), a bargain was struck. We 
agreed to pay three dollars for each beast ; half in 
ready money, the other half after reaching our desti- 
nation, and to start on the evening of the next day 
with a grain-caravan, guarded by an escort of Irregular 
cavalry. I hired two animals, one for my luggage and 
servant, the other for the boy Mohammed and myself, 
expressly stipulating that we were to ride the better beast, 
and that if it broke down on the road, its place should be 
supplied by another as good. My friends could not 
dissemble their uneasiness, when informed by the Muk- 
harrij that the Hazimi tribe was "out," and that 
travellers had to fight every day. The Daghistanis also 
contributed to their alarm. " We met," said they, 
"between 200 and 300 devils on a Razzia near Al- 
Madinah ; we gave them the Salam, but they would not 
reply, although we were all on dromedaries. Then they 
asked us if we were men of Al-Madinah, and we replied 
'Yes;' and lastly, they wanted to know the end of our 
journey; so we said Bir Abbas. 1 " The Badawin who 
had accompanied the Daghistanis belonged to some tribe 
unconnected with the Hazimi : the spokesman rolled his 
head, as much as to say "Allah has preserved us!" 
And a young Indian of the party — I shrewdly suspect 
him of having stolen my pen-knife that night — displayed 

1 The not returning "Salam" was a sign on the part of the 
Badawin that they were out to fight, and not to make friends ; and 
the dromedary riders, who generally travel without much to rob, 
thought this behaviour a declaration of desperate designs. The 
Badawin asked if they were Al-Madinah men ; because the former do 
not like, unless when absolutely necessary, to plunder the people of 
the Holy City. And the Daghistanis said their destination was Bir 
Abbas, a neighbouring, instead of Yambu', a distant post, because 
those who travel on a long journey, being supposed to have more 
funds witn them, are more likely to be molested. 

232 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the cowardice of a "Miyan, 1 " by looking aghast at the 
memory of his imminent and deadly risk. " Sir," said 
Shaykh Nur to me, " we must wait till all this is over." 
I told him to hold his tongue, and sharply reproved the 
boy Mohammed, upon whose manner the effect of finding 
himself suddenly in a fresh country had wrought a change 
for the worse. " Why, ye were lions at Cairo; and here, 
at Yambu', you are cats — hens! 2 " It was not long, 
however, before the youth's impudence returned upon 
him with increased violence. 

We sat through the afternoon in the little room on 
the terrace, whose reflected heat, together with the fiery 
winds from the Wilderness, seemed to incommode even 
my companions. After sunset we dined in the open 
air, a body of twenty : master, servants, children and 
strangers. All the procurable rugs and pillows had been 
seized to make a Diwan, and we squatted together round a 
large cauldron of boiled rice, containing square masses 
of mutton, the whole covered with clarified butter. 
Sa'ad the Demon was now in his glory. With what 
anecdotes the occasion supplied him ! His tongue seemed 
to wag with a perpetual motion ; for each man he had a 
boisterous greeting ; and, to judge from his whisperings, 
he must have been in every one's privacy and confidence. 
Conversation over pipes and coffee was prolonged to 
ten p.m., a late hour in these lands ; then we prayed the 

i " Miyan," the Hindustani word for "Sir," is known to the 
Badawin all over Al-Hijaz ; they always address Indian Moslems 
with this word, which has become contemptuous, on account of the 
low esteem in which the race is held. 

2 That is to say, sneaks and cowards. I was astonished to see 
our Maghrabi fellow-passengers in the bazar at Yambu' cringing and 
bowing to us, more like courtiers than Badawin. Such, however, is 
the effect of a strange place upon Orientals generally. In the Per- 
sians such humility was excusable ; in no part of Al-Hijaz are they 
for a moment safe from abuse and blows. 

XII. — The Halt at Yambu\ 


Isha 1 (or vespers), and, spreading our mats upon the 
terrace, slept in the open air. 

The forenoon of the next day was occupied in 
making sundry small purchases. We laid in seven days' 
provisions for the journey ; repacked our boxes, polished 
and loaded our arms, and attired ourselves appropriately 
for the road. By the advice of Amm Jamal 2 I dressed 
as an Arab, in order to avoid paying the Jizyat, a capita- 
tion tax 3 which, upon this road, the settled tribes extort 
from stranger travellers ; and he warned me not to speak 
any language but Arabic, even to my "slave," in the 
vicinity of a village. I bought for my own convenience 
a Shugduf or litter 4 for which I paid two dollars. It is a 

1 The night prayer. 

2 "Amm" means literally a paternal uncle. In the Hijaz it is 
prefixed to the names of respectable men, who may also be addressed 
" Ya Amm Jamal ! " (O Uncle Jamal !) To say " Ya Ammi ! " (O my 
Uncle !) is more familiar, and would generally be used by a superior 
addressing an inferior. 

3 Jizyat properly means the capitation tax levied on Infidels ; in 
this land of intense pride, the Badawin, and even the town-chiefs, 
apply the opprobrious term to blackmail extorted from travellers, 
even of their own creed. 

4 The Shugduf of Al-Hijaz differs greatly from that used in 
Syria and other countries. It is composed of two corded cots 5 feet 
long, slung horizontally, about half-way 
down, and parallel with the camel's sides. 
These cots have short legs, and at the halt 
may be used as bedsteads ; the two are 
connected together by loose ropes, at- 
tached to the inner long sides of the 
framework, and these are thrown over 
the camel's packsaddle. Thick twigs 
inserted in the ends and the outer long 
sides of the framework, are bent over 
the top, bower-fashion, to support 
matting, carpets, and any other pro- 
tection against the sun. There is an 
opening in this kind of wicker-work in 
front (towards the camel's head), through 
which you creep ; and a similar one behind creates a draught of wind. 

The Mahmil, en deshabille. 

234 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

vehicle appropriated to women and children, fathers of 
families, married men, " Shelebis, 1 " and generally to 
those who are too effeminate to ride. My reason for 
choosing a litter was that notes are more easily taken in 
it than on a dromedary's back ; the excuse of lameness 
prevented it detracting from my manhood, and I was 
careful when entering any populous place to borrow or 
hire a saddled beast. 

Our party dined early that day, for the camels had 
been sitting at the gate since noon. We had the usual 
trouble in loading them : the owners of the animals voci- 
ferating about the unconscionable weight, the owners of 
the goods swearing that a child could carry such weight, 
while the beasts, taking part with their proprietors, 
moaned piteously, roared, made vicious attempts to bite, 
and started up with an agility that threw the half-secured 
boxes or sacks headlong to the ground. About 3 p.m. 
all was ready — the camels formed into Indian file 
were placed standing in the streets. But, as usual with 
Oriental travellers, all the men dispersed about the town : 
we did not mount before it was late in the afternoon. 

I must now take the liberty of presenting to the 
reader an Arab Shaykh fully equipped for travelling. 2 
Nothing can be more picturesque than the costume, and 

Outside, towards the camel's tail, are pockets containing girtlehs, or 
earthenware bottles, of cooled water. Inside, attached to the wicker- 
work, are large provision pouches, similar to those used in old- 
fashioned travelling chariots. At the bottom are spread the two beds. 
The greatest disadvantage of the Shugduf is the difficulty of keeping 
balance. Two men ride in it, and their weights must be made to tally. 
Moreover, it is liable to be caught and torn by thorn trees, to be blown 
off in a gale of wind ; and its awkwardness causes the camel repeated 
falls, which are most likely to smash it. Yet it is not necessarily an 
uncomfortable machine. Those for sale in the bazar are, of course, 
worthless, being made of badly seasoned wood. But private litters 
are sometimes pleasant vehicles, with turned and painted framework, 
silk cordage, and valuable carpets. The often described " Mahmil" is 
nothing but a Syrian Shugduf, royally ornamented. 

1 " Exquisites." 

2 It is the same rule with the Arab, on the road as at home ; the 

T. SeddoD Esq 1 '- aslt 



XII.— The Halt at YamhC. 235 

it is with regret that we see it exchanged in the towns 
and more civilised parts for any other. The long locks 
or the shaven scalps are surmounted by a white cotton 
skull-cap, over which is a Kufiyah — a large square kerchief 
of silk and cotton mixed, and generally of a dull red 
colour with a bright yellow border, from which depend 
crimson silk twists ending in little tassels that reach the 
wearer's waist. Doubled into a triangle, and bound with 
an Aahal 1 or fillet of rope, a skein of yarn or a twist of 
wool, the kerchief fits the head close behind : it pro- 
jects over the forehead, shading the eyes, and giving 
a fierce look to the countenance. On certain occasions 
one end is brought round the lower part of the face, and 
is fastened behind the head. This veiling the features is 
technically called Lisdm : the chiefs generally fight so, 
and it is the usual disguise when a man fears the 
avenger of blood, or a woman starts to take her Sar. 2 
In hot weather it is supposed to keep the Samun, in cold 
weather the catarrh, from the lungs. 

more he is dressed the greater is his respectability. For this reason, 
you see Sharif s and other men of high family, riding or walking in 
their warm camel's hair robes on the hottest days. Another super- 
stition of the Arabs is this, that thick clothes avert the evil effects 
of the sun's beams, by keeping out heat. To the kindness of a friend 
— Thomas Seddon — I owe the admirable sketch of an "Arab Shaykh 
in his Travelling Dress." 

1 Sharifs and other great men sometimes bind a white turband or 
a Cashmere shawl round the kerchief, to keep it in its place. The 

Aakal varies in every part of the country. 
Here it is a twist of dyed wool, there a bit of 
common rope, three or four feet long. Some 
of the Arab tribes use a circlet of wood, com- 
posed of little round pieces, the size of a 
shilling, joined side by side, and inlaid with 
mother-of-pearl. The Eastern Arabs wear a 
large circle of brown wool, almost a turband 
in itself. In Barbary, they twist bright- 
coloured cloth round a rope, and adorn it 
with thick golden thread. 

2 Generally written "Thar," the blood-revenge right, acknow- 
ledged by law and custom. (See Chapter xxiv. post.) 

236 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

The body dress is simply a Kamis or cotton shirt : 
tight sleeved, opening in front, and adorned round the 
waist and collar, and down the breast, with embroidery 
like net-work ; it extends from neck to foot. Some wear 
wide trousers, but the Badawin consider such things 
effeminate, and they have not yet fallen into the folly of 
socks and stockings. Over the Kamis is thrown a long- 
skirted and short-sleeved cloak of camel's hair, called an 
Aba. It is made in many patterns, and of all materials 
from pure silk to coarse sheep's wool ; some prefer it 
brown, others white, others striped : in Al-Hijaz the 
favourite hue is white, embroidered with gold, 1 tinsel, 
or yellow thread in two large triangles, capped with 
broad bands and other figures running down the 
shoulders and sides of the back. It is lined inside the 
shoulders and breast with handsome stuffs of silk and 
cotton mixed, and is tied in front by elaborate strings, 
and tassels or acorns of silk and gold. A sash confines 
the Kamis at the waist, and supports the silver-hilted 

Jambiyah 2 or crooked dag- 
ger: the picturesque Arab 
sandal 3 completes the 
costume. Finally, the 

1 Gold, however, as well as silk, I may be excused for repeating, 
is a forbidden article of ornament to the Moslem. 

2 The silver-hilted dagger is a sign of dignity : " I would silver 
my dagger," in idiomatic Hijazi, means, " I would raise myself in 
the world." 

3 Niebuhr has accurately described this article. It is still worn 
in the Madras army, though long discarded from the other presi- 
dencies ; the main difference between the Indian and the Arab sandal 
is, that the former has a ring, into which the big toe is inserted, and 
the latter a thong, which is clasped between the big toe and its neigh- 
bour. Both of them are equally uncomfortable, and equally injurious 
to soldiers, whose legs fight as much as do their arms. They abrade 
the skin wherever the straps touch, expose the feet to the sun, wind, 
and rain, and admit thorns and flints to the toes and toe-nails. In 
Arabia, the traveller may wear, if he pleases, slippers, but they are 

XII. — The Halt at YamhC. 237 

Shaykh's arms are a sword and a matchlock slung behind 
his back; in his right hand he carries a short javelin 1 or a 
light crooked stick, about two feet and a half long, called 
a Mas'hab, 2 used for guiding camels. 

The poorer clans of Arabs twist round their waist, 

considered townsman-like and effeminate. They must be of the 
usual colours, red or yellow. Black shoes, though almost universally 
worn by the Turks at Cairo and Constantinople, would most probably 
excite suspicion in Al-Hijaz. 

1 The Mizrak, as it is called, is peculiar to certain tribes, as the 
Karashi and the Lahyami, and some, like the Hudayli near Meccah, 
make very pretty as well as very useful darts. The head is 15 or 16 
inches long, nowhere broader than an inch, and tapering gradually to 
a fine point ; its shape is two shallow prisms joined at their bases, 
and its socket, round like that of all lances, measures a little less 
than 2 inches. The lower third of the blade only is adorned with 
bars, lozenges, and cones of brass let into the iron in zig-zag and 
other figures. The shaft is of hard pliant wood — I do not know of 
what tree — well seasoned with grease and use ; it is 23 inches long, 
and strengthened and adorned at distances of half an inch apart by 
bands of fine brass wire, about one inch and a half long. The heel 
of the weapon is a blunt spike 14 inches long, used to stick it in 
the ground, and this, as well as the lower third of the blade, is 
ornamented with brass work. Being well balanced, the Mizrak is a 
highly efficient weapon for throwing in hunting, and by its hand- 
some appearance adds not a little to the bearer's dignity. But the 
stranger must be careful how he so arms himself. Unless he be 
undistinguishable from a Badawi, by carrying a weapon peculiar to 
certain clans, he will expose himself to suspicion, or to laughter. 
And to offend an Arab of Al-Hijaz mortally, you have only to say 
bluntly, " Sell me thy spear." The proper style of address to the 
man whose necessities compel him to break through one of his 
" points d'honneur," is to say, " Give me that javelin, and I will 
satisfy thee ; ' ' after which he will haggle for each copper piece as 
though you were cheapening a sheep. 

2 The Mas'hab is of almond, generally brought from Syria; at 
the thick end is a kind of crook, formed by cutting off a bit of the 
larger branch from which the stick grows. This crook is afterwards 
cut into the shape useful to seize a camel's nose-ring, or a horse's 
biidie. Arabs of all degrees are fond of carrying these sticks. [It 
is also called M&ghin.] 

238 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

next to the skin, a long plait of greasy leather, to support 
the back; and they gird the shirt at the middle merely 
with a cord, or with a coarse sash. The dagger is stuck 
in this scarf, and a bandoleer slung over the shoulders 
carries the cartridge-case, powder-flask, flint and steel, 
priming-horn, and other necessaries. With the traveller, 
the waist is an elaborate affair. Next to the skin is 
worn the money-pouch, concealed by the Kamis ; the 
latter is girt with a waist shawl, over which is strapped 
a leathern belt. 1 The latter article should always be 
well garnished with a pair of long-barrelled and silver- 
mounted flint pistols, 2 a large and a small dagger, and an 

1 This article, the Silahlik of the Turks, is composed of several 
oblong pieces of leather cut out to fit the front part of the body ; 
between each fold there is room enough to stick a weapon ; a substan- 
tial strap fastens it round the waist, and it serves to defend the 
sash or the shirt from iron mould, and the stains of gunpowder. 
It is made of all kinds of material, from plain Morocco leather to 
the richest velvet embroidered with gold. 

2 It is as well to have a good pair of Turkish barrels and stocks, 
fitted up with locks of European manufacture ; those made by 
natives of these countries can never be depended upon. The same 
will apply to the gun or rifle. Upon the whole, it is more prudent 
to have flint locks. Copper caps are now sold in the bazars of 
Meccah and Al-Madinah, where a Colt's "six-shooter" might excite 
attention for a day ; but were the owner in a position to despise 
notoriety, he might display it everywhere without danger. One of 
our guards, who was killed on the road, had a double-barrelled 
English fowling-piece. Still, when doubts must not be aroused, the 
traveller will do well to avoid, even in the civilised Hijaz, suspicious 
appearances in his weapons. I carried in a secret pocket a small 
pistol with a spring dagger, upon which dependence could be placed, 
and I was careful never to show it, discharging it and loading it 
always in the dark. Some men wear a little dagger strapped round 
the leg, below the knee. Its use is this : when the enemy gets you 
under, he can prevent you bringing your hand up to the weapon in 
your waist-belt ; but before he cuts your throat, you may slip your 
fingers down to the knee, and persuade him to stop by a stab in the 
perineum. This knee dagger is required only in very dangerous 
places. The article I chiefly accused myself of forgetting was a 

XII.— The Halt at YambiC. 


iron ramrod with pincers inside ; a little leathern pouch 
fastened to the waist-strap on the right side contains 
cartridge, wadding, and flask of priming powder. The 
sword hangs over the shoulder by crimson silk cords 
and huge tassels 1 : w r ell-dressed men apply the same 
showy ornaments to their pistols. In the hand may be 
borne a bell-mouthed blunderbuss ; or, better still, a long 
single-barrel gun with an ounce bore. All these weapons 
must shine like silver, if you wish to be respected ; for 
the knightly care of arms is here a sign of manliness. 

Pilgrims, especially those from Turkey, carry, I 
have said, a " Hamail," to denote their holy errand. This 
is a pocket Koran, in a handsome gold-embroidered crim- 
son velvet or red morocco case, slung by red silk cords 
over the left shoulder. It must hang down by the right 
side, and should never depend below the waist-belt. 
For this I substituted a most useful article. To all 
appearance a " Hamail," it had inside three compart- 
ments ; one for my watch and compass, the second for 
ready money, and the third contained penknife, pencils, 
and slips of paper, which I could hold concealed in the 
hollow of my hand. These were for writing and drawing : 
opportunities of making a "fair copy" into the diary- 
book, 2 are never wanting to the acute traveller. He 

stout English clasp-knife, with a large handle, a blade like an 
"Arkansas toothpick," and possessing the other useful appliances of 
picker, fleam, tweezers, lancet, and punch. 

1 Called "Habak" : these cords are made in great quantities at 
Cairo, which possesses a special bazar for them, and are exported to 
all the neighbouring countries, where their price considerably in- 
creases. A handsome pistol-cord, with its tassels, costs about 12 
shillings in Egypt ; at Meccah, or Al-Madinah, the same would fetch 
upwards of a pound sterling. 

2 My diary-book was made up for me by a Cairene ; it was a 
long thin volume fitting into a breast-pocket, where it could be 
carried without being seen. I began by writing notes in the Arabic 
character, but as no risk appeared, my journal was afterwards kept 
in English. More than once, by way of experiment, I showed the 

240 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

must, however, beware of sketching before the Badawin, 
who would certainly proceed to extreme measures, sus- 
pecting him to be a spy or a sorcerer. 1 Nothing so 
effectually puzzles these people as the Frankish habit of put- 
ting everything on paper; their imaginations are set at work, 
and then the worst may be expected from them. The 
only safe way of writing in presence of a Badawi would 
be when drawing out a horoscope or preparing a charm ; 
he also objects not, if you can warm his heart upon the 
subject, to seeing you take notes in a book of genealogies. 
You might begin with, "And you, men of Harb, on 
what origin do you pride yourselves?" And while the 
listeners became fluent upon the, to them, all-interesting 

writing on a loose slip of paper to my companions, and astonished 
them with the strange character derived from Solomon and Alex- 
ander, the Lord of the Two Horns, which we Afghans still use. 
For a short trip a pencil suffices ; on long journeys ink is necessary ; 
the latter article should be English, not Eastern, which is washed 
out clean the first time your luggage is thoroughly soaked with rain. 
The traveller may use either the Persian or the brass Egyptian ink- 
stand ; the latter, however, is preferable, being stronger and less 
likely to break. But, unless he be capable of writing and reading a 
letter correctly, it would be unadvisable to stick such an article in 
the waist-belt, as this gives out publicly that he is a scribe. When 
sketching, the pencil is the best, because the simplest and shortest 
mode of operation is required. Important lines should afterwards be 
marked with ink, as "fixing" is impossible on such journeys. For 
prudence sake, when my sketches were made, I cut up the paper 
into square pieces, numbered them for future reference, and hid 
them in the tin canisters that contained my medicines. 

1 An accident of this kind happened not long ago, in Hazramaut, 
to a German traveller who shall be nameless. He had the morti- 
fication to see his sketch-book, the labour of months, summarily 
appropriated and destroyed by the Arabs. I was told by a Hazra- 
maut man at Cairo, and by several at Aden, that the gentleman had 
at the time a narrow escape with his life ; the Badawin wished to 
put him to death as a spy, sent by the Frank to ensorceler their 
country, but the Shaykhs forbade bloodshed, and merely deported 
the offender. Travellers caught sketching are not often treated with 
such forbearance. 

XII. — The Halt at Y ambit . 241 

theme, you could put down whatever you please upon 
the margin. The townspeople are more liberal, and 
years ago the Holy Shrines have been drawn, surveyed 
and even lithographed, by Eastern artists : still, if you 
wish to avoid all suspicion, you must rarely be seen with 
pen or with pencil in hand. 

At 6 p.m., descending the stairs of our Wakalah,we 
found the camels standing loaded in the street, and 
shifting their ground in token of impatience. 1 My Shug- 
duf, perched upon the back of a tall strong animal, nodded 
and swayed about with his every motion, impressing 
me with the idea that the first step would throw it over 
the shoulders or the crupper. The camel-man told me I 
must climb up the animal's neck, and so creep into the 
vehicle. But my foot disabling me from such exertion, I 
insisted upon their bringing the beast to squat, which 
they did grumblingly. 2 We took leave of Omar EfTendi's 
brothers and their dependents, who insisted upon paying 
us the compliment of accompanying us to the gate. 
Then we mounted and started, which was a signal for all 
our party to disperse once more. Some heard the report 
of a vessel having arrived from Suez, with Mohammed 
Shiklibha and other friends on board ; these hurried 
down to the harbour for a parting word. Others, 
declaring they had forgotten some necessaries for the 
way, ran off to spend one last hour in gossip at the 
coffee-house. Then the sun set, and prayers must be 
said. The brief twilight had almost faded away before 
all had mounted. With loud cries of " Wassit, ya hu ! — 

1 All Arabs assert that it pains the loaded camel's feet to stand 
still, and, certainly, the "fidgettiness " of the animal to start, looks 
as if he had some reason to prefer walking. 

2 It often strains the camel to rise with a full Shugduf on his 
back, besides which the motion is certain to destroy the vehicle in a 
few days. Those who are unable to climb up the camel's neck 
usually carry with them a short ladder. 

VOL. I. l6 

242 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Go in the middle of the road, O He!" and "Jannib, 
y'al Jammal 1 ! — Keep to the side, O camel-man!" we 
threaded our way through long, dusty, narrow streets, 
flanked with white-washed habitations at considerable 
intervals, and large heaps of rubbish, sometimes higher 
than the houses. We were stopped at the gate to 
ascertain if we were strangers, in which case, the guard 
would have done his best to extract a few piastres before 
allowing our luggage to pass ; but he soon perceived by 
my companions^ accent, that they were Sons of the Holy 
City, — consequently, that the case was hopeless. While 
standing here, Shaykh Hamid vaunted the strong walls 
and turrets 01 Yambu', which he said were superior to 
those of Jeddah' 2 : they kept Sa'ud, the Wahhabi, at bay 
in a.d. 1802, but would scarcely, I should say, resist a 
field battery in a.d. 1853. The moon rose fair and clear, 
dazzling us with light as we emerged from the shadowy 
streets ; and when we launched into the Desert, the sweet 
air delightfully contrasted with the close offensive atmos- 
phere of the town. My companions, as Arabs will do 
on such occasions, began to sing. 

1 Wassit means, " go in the middle of the road" ; Jannib, " keep 
clear of the sides." These words are fair specimens of how much 
may be said by two Arabic syllables. Ya hu (O, he) is an address 
common in Arabia as in Egypt, and Y'al Jammal (O camel-man) is 
perhaps a little more civil. 

2 The rivalry between the Sons of the two Holy Cities extends 
even to these parts : the Madania contending for Yambu', the Mec- 
cans for Jeddah. 




On the 18th July, about 7 p.m., we passed through 
the gate of Yambu', and took a due Easterly course. Our 
route lay over the plain between the mountains of Radh- 
wah on the left, and the sea on the right hand ; the land 
was desert, — that is to say, a hard level plain, strewed with 
rounded lumps of granite and greenstone schist, with 
here and there a dwarf Acacia, and a tuft of rank camel 
grass. By the light of a glorious moon, nearly at the 
full, I was able to see the country tolerably well. 

Our party consisted of twelve camels, and we trav- 
elled in Indian file, head tied to tail, with but one out- 
rider, Omar Effendi, whose rank required him to mount a 
dromedary with showy trappings. Immediately in front 
of me was Amm Jamal, whom I had to reprove for asking 
the boy Mohammed, "Where have you picked up that 
Hindi, (Indian)? " "Are we, the Afghans, the Indian- 
slayers, 1 become Indians ? " I vociferated with indignation, 
and brought the thing home to his feelings, by asking 
him how he, an Arab, would like to be called an Egyptian, 
— a Fellah ? The rest of the party was behind, sitting or 
dozing upon the rough platforms made by the lids of the 
two huge boxes slung to the sides of their camels. Only 
one old woman, Al-Sitt Maryam (the lady Mary), return- 

1 Alluding to the celebrated mountain, the " Hindu-kush," 
whence the Afghans sallied forth to lay waste India. 

244 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

ing to Al-Madinah, her adopted country, after a visit to a 
sister at Cairo, allowed herself the luxury of a half-dollar 
Shibriyah or cot, fastened crosswise over the animal's 
load. Moreover, all the party, except Omar Effendi, in 
token of poverty, were dressed in the coarsest and dirtiest 
of clothes, — the general suit consisting of a shirt torn in 
divers places and a bit of rag wrapped round the head. 
They carried short chibuks without mouth-pieces, and 
tobacco-pouches of greasy leather. Though the country 
hereabouts is perfectly safe, all had their arms in readiness, 
and the unusual silence that succeeded to the singing, — 
even Sa'ad the Demon held his tongue, — was sufficient to 
show how much they feared for their property. After 
a slow march of two hours facing the moon, we turned 
somewhat towards the North-East, and began to pass 
over undulating ground, in which a steady rise was per- 
ceptible. We arrived at the halting-place at three in the 
morning, after a short march of about eight hours, during 
which we could not have passed over more than sixteen 
miles. 1 The camels were naklid' 1 ; the boxes were taken 
off and piled together as a precaution against invisible 
robbers ; my little tent, the only one in the party, was 
pitched ; we then spread our rugs upon the ground and 
lay down to sleep. 

We arose at about 9 a.m. (July 19), and after congrat- 
ulating one another upon being once more in the "dear 
Desert," we proceeded in exhilarated mood to light the 
fire for pipes and breakfast. The meal — a biscuit, a 
little rice, and a cup of milkless tea — was soon dis- 
patched, after which I proceeded to inspect our position. 

1 Throughout this work I have estimated the pace of a Hijazi 
camel, laden and walking in caravan line, under ordinary circum- 
stances, at two geographical miles an hour. A sandy plain or a 
rocky pass might make a difference of half a mile each way, but not 

2 See Chap. VIII., page 152, note 1, ante. 

XIII. — From YamhC to Bir Abbas. 245 

About a mile to the westward lay the little village 
Al-Musahhal, 1 a group of miserable mud hovels. On the 
south was a strip of bright blue sea, and all around, an 
iron plain producing naught but stones and grasshoppers, 
and bounded northward by a grisly wall of blackish rock. 
Here and there a shrub fit only for fuel, or a tuft of coarse 
grass, crisp with heat, met the eye. All was sun-parched ; 
the furious heat from above was drying up the sap and 
juice of the land, as the simmering and quivering atmos- 
phere showed ; moreover the heavy dews of these regions, 
forming in large drops upon the plants and stones, con- 
centrate the morning rays upon them like a system of 
burning-glasses. After making these few observations I 
followed the example of my companions, and returned 
to sleep. 

At two p.m. we were roused to a dinner as simple as the 
breakfast had been. Boiled rice with an abundance of 
the clarified butter 2 in which Easterns delight, some frag- 
ments of Kahk 3 or soft biscuit, and stale bread 4 and a 
handful of stoned and pressed date-paste, called 'Ajwah, 
formed the menu. Our potations began before dinner 
with a vile-tasted but wholesome drink called Akit, 5 

1 The reader must be warned that these little villages in Arabia, 
as in Sind and Baluchistan, are continually changing their names, 
whilst the larger settlements always retain the same. The traveller, 
too, must beware of writing down the first answer he receives ; in 
one of our maps a village on the Euphrates is gravely named 
"M'adri," (" Don't know"). 

2 Here called Samn, the Indian ghee. 

3 The " Kahk " in this country is a light and pleasant bread made 
of ground wheat, kneaded with milk, leavened with sour bean flour, 
and finally baked in an oven, not, as usual, in the East, upon an iron 
plate. The Kahk of Egypt is a kind of cake. 

4 Stale unleavened bread is much relished by Easterns, who say 
that keeping it on journeys makes it sweet. To prevent its becoming 
mouldy, they cut it up into little bits, and, at the risk of hardening it 
to the consistence of wood, they dry it by exposure to the air. 

5 This Akit has different names in all parts of Arabia ; even in 

246 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

dried sour milk dissolved in water ; at the meal we drank 
the leather-flavoured element, and ended with a large 
cupful of scalding tea. Enormous quantities of liquid 
were consumed, for the sun seemed to have got into our 
throats, and the perspiration trickled as after a shower of 
rain. Whilst we were eating, a Badawi woman passed 
close by the tent, leading a flock of sheep and goats, 
seeing which I expressed a desire to drink milk. My com- 
panions sent by one of the camel-men a bit of bread, and 
asked in exchange for a cupful of "laban. 1 " Thus I 
learned that the Arabs, even in this corrupt region, still 
adhere to the meaningless custom of their ancestors, who 
chose to make the term "Labban 2 " (milk-seller) an oppro- 
brium and a disgrace. Possibly the origin of the preju- 

Al-Hijaz it is known by the name of Mazir, as well as "Igt," (the 
corruption of Akit). When very is called " Saribah," and 
when dried, without boiling, "Jamidah." The Arabs make it by 
evaporating the serous part of the milk ; the remainder is then 
formed into cakes or lumps with the hand, and spread upon hair 
cloth to dry. They eat it with clarified butter, and drink it melted 
in water. It is considered a cooling and refreshing beverage, but 
boasts few attractions to the stranger. The Baluchis and wild 
tribes of Sindians call this preparation of milk " Krut," and make 
it in the same way as the Badawin do. 

1 In Arabic and Hebrew, milk ; the Maltese give the word a very 
different signification, and the Egyptians, like the Syrians, confine 
their use of it to sour milk or curds — calling sweet milk "laban 
halib," or simply " halib." 

2 In a previous work (History of Sind), I have remarked that 
there exists some curious similarity in language and customs between 
the Arabs and the various races occupying the broad ranges of hills 
that separate India from Persia. Amongst these must be numbered 
the prejudice alluded to above. The lamented Dr. Stocks, of Bombay, 
who travelled amongst and observed the Brahui and the Baluchi 
nomads in the Pashin valley, informed me that, though they will 
give milk in exchange for other commodities, yet they consider 
it a disgrace to make money by it. This, methinks, is too conven- 
tional a point of honour to have sprung up spontaneously in two 
countries so distant, and apparently so unconnected. 

XIII. — From Yambu to Biv Abbas. 247 

dice might be the recognising of a traveller's guest-right 
to call for milk gratis. However this may be, no one will 
in the present day sell this article of consumption, even at 
civilised Meccah, except Egyptians, a people supposed to 
be utterly without honour. As a general rule in the 
Hijaz, milk abounds in the spring, but at all other times 
of the year it is difficult to be procured. The Badawi 
woman managed, however, to send me back a cupful. 

At three p.m. we were ready to start, and all saw, with 
unspeakable gratification, a huge black nimbus rise from 
the shoulder of Mount Radhwah, and range itself, like a 
good genius, between us and our terrible foe, the sun. 
We hoped that it contained rain, but presently a blast 
of hot wind, like the breath of a volcano, blew over the 
plain, and the air was filled with particles of sand. 
This is the "dry storm" of Arabia; it appears to depend 
upon some electrical phenomena which it would be de- 
sirable to investigate. 1 When we had loaded and mounted, 
my camel-men, two in number, came up to the Shugduf 
and demanded "Bakhshish," which, it appears, they are 
now in the habit of doing each time the traveller starts. 
I was at first surprised to find the word here, but after 
a few days of Badawi society, my wonder diminished. 
The men were Beni-Harb of the great Hijazi tribe, 
which has kept its blood pure for the last thirteen cen- 
turies, — how much more we know not, — but they had 
been corrupted by intercourse with pilgrims, retaining 
none of their ancestral qualities but greed of gain, re- 
vengefulness, pugnacity, and a frantic kind of bravery, 
displayed on rare occasions. Their nobility, however, 
did not prevent my quoting the Prophet's saying, "Of a 
truth, the worst names among the Arabs are the Beni- 

1 At Aden, as well as in Sind, these dry storms abound, and 
there the work of meteorological investigation would be easier than 
in Al-Hijaz. 

248 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Kalb and the Beni-Harb, 1 " whilst I taunted them severely 
with their resemblance to the Fellahs of Egypt. They 
would have resented this with asperity, had it proceeded 
from their own people, but the Turkish pilgrim — the char- 
acter in which they knew me, despite my Arab dress — 
is a privileged person. The outer man of these Fight- 
Sons was contemptible ; small chocolate-coloured beings, 
stunted and thin, with mops of course bushy hair burned 
brown by the sun, straggling beards, vicious eyes, frown- 
ing brows, screaming voices, and well-made, but atten- 
uated, limbs. On their heads were Kunyahs in the 
last stage of wear: a tattered shirt, indigo-dyed, and 
girt with a bit of common rope, composed their 
clothing; and their feet were protected from the stones 
by soles of thick leather, kept in place by narrow thongs 
tied to the ankle. Both were armed, one with a match- 
lock, and a Shintiyan' 1 in a leathern scabbard, slung over 
the shoulder, the other with a Nabbut, and both showed at 
the waist the Arab's invariable companion, the Jambiyah 
(dagger). These ragged fellows, however, had their pride. 
They would eat with me, and not disdain, like certain 
self-styled Caballeros, to ask for more; but of work they 
would do none. No promise of "Bakhshish," potent as 

1 " Beni-Kalb," (or Juhaynah, Chap. X.), would mean the " Dogs'- 
Sons " — " Beni-Harb," the " Sons of Fight." 

2 The Shintiyan is the common sword-blade of the Badawin ; in 
Western Arabia, it is called Majar (from the Magyars ?), and is said 
to be of German manufacture. Good old weapons of the proper 
curve, marked like Andrew Ferraras with a certain number of lines 
down their length, will fetch, even in Arabia, from £y to £8. The 
modern and cheap ones cost about 10s. Excellent weapons abound 
in this country, the reason being that there is a perpetual demand for 
them, and when once purchased, they become heir-looms in the 
family. I have heard that when the Beni Bu Ali tribe, near Ras al- 
Khaymah, was defeated with slaughter by Sir Lionel Smith's expedi- 
tion, the victors found many valuable old European blades in the 
hands of the slain. 

XIII. — From YamhC to Bir Abbsa. 249 

the spell of that word is, would induce them to assist in 
pitching my tent: they even expected Shaykh Nur to 
cook for them, and I had almost to use violence, for even 
the just excuse of a sore foot was insufficient to procure 
the privilege of mounting my Shugduf while the camel 
was sitting. It was, they said, the custom of the country 
from time immemorial to use a ladder when legs would 
not act. I agreed with them, but objected that I had no 
ladder. At last, wearied with their thick-headedness, I 
snatched the nose -string of the camel, and by main force 
made it kneel. 

Our party was now strong enough. We had about 
200 beasts carrying grain, attended by their proprietors, 
truculent looking as the contrabandistas of the Pyrenees. 
The escort was composed of seven Irregular Turkish 
cavalry, tolerably mounted, and supplied each with an 
armoury in epitome. They were privily derided by our 
party, who, being Arabs, had a sneaking fondness for 
the Badawin, however loth they might be to see them 
amongst the boxes. 

For three hours we travelled in a south - easterly 
direction upon a hard plain and a sandy flat, on which 
several waters from the highlands find a passage to the 
sea westward. Gradually we were siding towards the 
mountains, and at sunset I observed that we had sensibly 
neared them. We dismounted for a short halt ; and, 
strangers being present, my companions, before sitting 
down to smoke, said their prayers — a pious exercise 
in which they did not engage for three days afterwards, 
when they met certain acquaintances at Al-Hamra. As 
evening came on, we emerged from a scrub of Acacia 
and Tamarisk and turned due East, traversing an open 
country with a perceptible rise. Scarcely was it dark 
before the cry of "Harami" (thieves) rose loud in the 
rear, causing such confusion as one may see in a boat in 
the Bay of Naples when suddenly neared by a water- 

250 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

spout. All the camel-men brandished their huge staves, 
and rushed back vociferating in the direction of the 
robbers. They were followed by the horsemen; and 
truly, had the thieves possessed the usual acuteness of 
the profession, they might have driven off the camels in 
our van with safety and convenience. 1 But these con- 
temptible beings were only half a dozen in number, and 
they had lighted their matchlocks, which drew a bullet 
or two in their direction. Whereupon they ran away. 
This incident aroused no inconsiderable excitement, for 
it seemed ominous of worse things about to happen to us 
when entangled in the hills, and the faces of my com- 
panions, perfect barometers of fair and foul tidings, fell 
to zero. For nine hours we journeyed through a bril- 
liant moonlight, and as the first grey streak appeared in 
the Eastern sky we entered a scanty "Misyal*" or 
Fiumara, strewed with pebbles and rounded stones, about 
half a mile in breadth, and flanked by almost perpen- 
dicular hills of primitive formation. I began by asking 
the names of peaks and other remarkable spots, when I 
found that a folio volume would not contain a three 
months' collection 8 : every hill and dale, flat, valley, and 

1 The way of carrying off a camel in this country is to loosen 
him, and then to hang on heavily to his tail, which causes him to 
start at full gallop. 

2 The Arabic Misyal, Masyal, Masil, or Masilah, is the Indian 
Nullah and the Sicilian " Fiumara," a hill water-course, which rolls a 
torrent during and after rain, and is either partially or wholly dry at 
other seasons, — the stream flowing slowly underground. In England 
we want the feature, and therefore there is no single word to express 
it. Our " River" is an imperfect way of conveying the idea. 

3 Generalisation is not the forte of the Arabic language. " Al- 
Kulzum " (the Red Sea), for instance, will be unintelligible to the 
native of Jeddah ; call it the Sea of Jeddah, and you at once explain 
yourself ; so the Badawin will have names for each separate part, but 
no single one to express the whole. This might be explained by their 
ignorance of anything but details. The same thing is observable, 
however, in the writings of the Arabian geographers when they come 
to treat of the objects near home. 

XIII. — From YamhC to Bir Abbas. 251 

water-course here has its proper name or rather names. 
The ingenuity shown by the Badawin in distinguishing 
between localities the most similar, is the result of a 
high organization of the perceptive faculties, perfected 
by the practice of observing a recurrence of landscape 
features few in number and varying but little amongst 
themselves. After travelling two hours up this torrent 
bed, winding in an Easterly direction, and crossing some 
"Hawaii" or ridges of rock, "Rid," steep descents, 1 
" Kitaah," patch of stony flat, and bits of " Sahil," dwarf 
plain, we found ourselves about eight a.m., after a march 
of about thirty-four miles, at Bir Sa'id (Sa'id's Well), 
our destination. 

I had been led to expect at the " Well," a pastoral 
scene, wild flowers, flocks and flowing waters ; so I 
looked with a jaundiced eye upon a deep hole full of slightly 
brackish water dug in a tamped hollow — a kind of punch- 
bowl with granite walls, upon whose grim surface a few 
thorns of exceeding hardihood braved the sun for a season. 
Not a house was in sight — it was as barren and desolate 
a spot as the sun ever "viewed in his wide career." But 
this is what the Arabian traveller must expect. He is to 
traverse, for instance, the Wady Al-Ward — the Vale of 
Flowers. He indulges in sweet recollections of Indian lakes 
beautiful with the Lotus, and Persian plains upon which 
Narcissus is the meanest of grasses. He sees a plain like 
swish-work, where knobs of granite act daisies ; and 
where, at every fifty yards, some hapless bud or blossom 
is dying of inanition among the stones. 

The sun scorched our feet as we planted the tent, and, 
after drinking our breakfast, we passed the usual day of 
perspiration and semi-lethargy. In discomfort man natur- 

1 About the classic " Harrah," I shall have more to say at a future 
time. The word " Ria " in literary and in vulgar Arabic is almost 
synonymous with Akabah, a steep descent, a path between hills or a 
mountain road. 

252 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

ally hails a change, even though it be one from bad to 
worse. When our enemy began slanting towards the 
West, we felt ready enough to proceed on our journey. The 
camels were laden shortly after 3 p.m., July 20th, and 
we started, with water jars in our hands, through a storm 
of Samun. 

We travelled five hours in a North-Easterly course up 
a diagonal valley, 1 through a country fantastic in its deso- 
lation — a mass of huge hills, barren plains, and desert 
vales. Even the sturdy Acacias here failed, and in some 
places the camel grass could not find earth enough for its 
root. The road wound among mountains, rocks and 
hills of granite, and over broken ground, flanked by huge 
blocks and boulders piled up as if man's art had aided 
Nature to disfigure herself. Vast clefts seamed like scars 
the hideous face of earth ; here they widened into dark 
caves, there they were choked with glistening drift 
sand. Not a bird or a beast was to be seen or heard ; 
their presence would have argued the vicinity of water ; 
and, though my companions opined that Badawin were 
lurking among the rocks, I decided that these Badawin 
were the creatures of their fears. Above, a sky like 
polished blue steel, with a tremendous blaze of yellow 
light, glared upon us without the thinnest veil of mist 
cloud. Below, the brass-coloured circle scorched the face 
and dazzled the eyes, mocking them the while with offers 
of water that was but air. The distant prospect was 
more attractive than the near view, because it borrowed 
a bright azure tinge from the intervening atmosphere ; 
but the jagged peaks and the perpendicular streaks of 
shadow down the flanks of the mountainous background 

1 Valleys may be divided into three kinds. 1. Longitudinal, i.e. 
parallel to the axis of their ridges; 2. Transversal or perpendicular 
to the same ; and, 3. Diagonal, which form an acute or an obtuse 
angle with the main chain of mountains. 

XIII. — From Yambu to Biv Abbas. 253 

showed that yet in store for us was no change for the 

Between 10 and 11 p.m., we reached human habita- 
tions — a phenomenon unseen since we left Al-Musahhal — 
in the shape of a long straggling village. It is called 
Al-Hamra, from the redness of the sands near which it 
is built, or Al-Wasitah, the "half-way," because it is the 
middle station between Yambu' and Al-Madinah. It is 
therefore considerably out of place in Burckhardt's map ; 
and those who copy from him make it much nearer the 
sea-port than it really is. We wandered nearly an hour 
in search of an encamping station, for the surly villa- 
gers ordered us off every flatter bit of ground, without, 
however, deigning to show us where our jaded beasts might 
rest. At last, after long wrangling, we found the usual 
spot ; the camels were unloaded, the boxes and baggage 
were disposed in a circle for greater security against the 
petty pilferers in which this part of the road abounds, and 
my companions spread their rugs so as to sleep upon their 
valuables. I was invited to follow the general example ; 
but I absolutely declined the vicinity of so many steaming 
and snoring fellow-travellers. Some wonder was excited 
by the Afghan Haji's obstinacy and recklessness ; but re- 
sistance to these people is sometimes bien place, and a man 
from Kabul is allowed to say and to do strange things. 
In answer to their warnings of nightly peril, I placed a 
drawn sword by my side 1 and a cocked pistol under my 
pillow, the saddle-bag : a carpet spread upon the cool loose 
sand formed by no means an uncomfortable couch, and 
upon it I enjoyed a sound sleep till day-break. 

Rising at dawn (July 21), I proceeded to visit the vil- 
lage. It is built upon a narrow shelf at the top of a pre- 
cipitous hill to the North, and on the South runs a sandy 

1 This act, by the bye, I afterwards learned to be a greater act 
of imprudence than the sleeping alone. Nothing renders the Arab 
thief so active as the chance of stealing a good weapon. 

254 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Fiumara about half a mile broad. On all sides are rocks and 
mountains rough and stony ; so you find yourself in another 
of those punch-bowls which the Arabs seem to consider 
choice sites for settlements. 1 The Fiumara, hereabouts 
very winding, threads the high grounds all the way 
down from the plateau of Al-Madinah : during the 
rainy season it becomes a raging torrent, carrying west- 
wards to the Red Sea the drainage of a hundred hills. 
Water of good quality is readily found in it by digging a 
few feet below the surface at the angles where the stream 
forms the deepest hollows, and in some places the stony 
sides give out bubbling springs. 2 

Al-Hamra itself is a collection of stunted houses or 
rather hovels, made of unbaked brick and mud, roofed 
over with palm leaves, and pierced with air-holes, which 
occasionally boast a bit of plank for a shutter. It appears 
thickly populated in the parts where the walls are stand- 
ing, but, like all settlements in the Holy Land, Al-Hijaz, 8 it 
abounds in ruins. It is well supplied with provisions, which 
are here cheaper than at Al-Madinah, — a circumstance 
that induced Sa'ad the Demon to overload his hapless 
camel with a sack of wheat. In the village are a few shops 
where grain, huge plantains, ready-made bread, rice, 

i Probably, because water is usually found in such places. In 
the wild parts of the country, wells are generally protected by some 
fortified building, for men consider themselves safe from an enemy 
until their supply of water is cut off. 

2 Near Al-Hamra, at the base of the Southern hills, within fire 
of the forts, there is a fine spring of sweet water. All such fountains 
are much prized by the people, who call them " Rock-water," and 
attribute to them tonic and digestive virtues. 

3 As far as I could discover, the reason of the ruinous state of 
the country at present is the effect of the old Wahhabi and Egyptian 
wars in the early part of the present century, and the misrule of the 
Turks. In Arabia the depopulation of a village or a district is not to 
be remedied, as in other countries, by an influx of strangers ; the 
land still belongs to the survivors of the tribe, and trespass would be 
visited with a bloody revenge. 

XIII. — From Y ambit' to Biv Abbas. 255 

clarified butter, and other edibles are to be purchased. 
Palm orchards of considerable extent supply it with dates. 
The bazar is, like the generality of such places in the 
villages of Eastern Arabia, a long lane, here covered with 
matting, there open to the sun, and the narrow streets — 
if they may be so called — are full of dust and glare. 
Near the encamping ground of caravans is a fort for the 
officer commanding a troop of Albanian cavalry, whose 
duty it is to defend the village, 1 to hold the country, and 
to escort merchant travellers. The building consists of 
an outer wall of hewn stone, loopholed for musketry, and 
surmounted by " Shararif" "rempavts coquets," about as 
useful against artillery as the sugar gallery round a 
Twelfth-cake. Nothing would be easier than to take the 
place : a false attack would draw of! the attention of the 
defenders, who in these latitudes know nothing of sentry- 
duty, whilst scaling - ladders or a bag full of powder 
would command a ready entrance into the other side. 
Around the Al-Hamra fort are clusters of palm-leaf huts, 
where the soldiery lounge and smoke, and near it is the 
usual coffee-house, a shed kept by an Albanian. These 
places are frequented probably on account of the intense 
heat inside the fort. We passed a comfortless day at the 
"Red Village." Large flocks of sheep and goats were 
being driven in and out of the place, but their surly 
shepherds would give no milk, even in exchange for bread 
and meat. The morning was spent in watching certain 
Badawin, who, matchlock in hand, had climbed the hills 
in pursuit of a troop of cranes : not one bird was hit of 
the many fired at — a circumstance which did not say 
much for their vaunted marksmanship. Before break- 
fast I bought a moderately sized sheep for a dollar. 

1 Without these forts the Turks, at least so said my companions, 
could never hold the country against the Badawin. There is a little 
amour propre in the assertion, but upon the whole it is true. There 
are no Mohammed Alis, Jazzars, and Ibrahim Pachas in these days. 

256 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Shaykh Hamid "haldled 1 " (butchered) it, according to 
rule, and my companions soon prepared a feast of boiled 
mutton. But that sheep proved a " bone of contention." 
The boy Mohammed had, in a fit of economy, sold its 
head to a Badawi for three piastres, and the others, dis- 
appointed in their anticipations of "haggis," lost temper. 
With the "Demon's" voluble tongue and impudent 
countenance in the van, they opened such a volley of 
raillery and sarcasm upon the young "tripe-seller," that 
he in his turn became excited — furious. I had some 
difficulty to keep the peace, for it did not suit my 
interests that they should quarrel. But to do the Arabs 
justice, nothing is easier for a man who knows them 
than to work upon their good feelings. "He is a stranger 
in your country — a guest!" acted as a charm; they 
listened patiently to Mohammed's gross abuse, only 
promising to answer him when in his land, that is to 
say, near Meccah. But what especially soured our day 
was the report that Sa'ad, the great robber-chief, and 
his brother were in the field ; consequently that our 
march would be delayed for some time : every half-hour 
some fresh tattle from the camp or the coffee-house added 
fuel to the fire of our impatience. 

A few particulars about this Schinderhans of Al- 
Hijaz' 2 may not be unacceptable. He is the chief of the 
Sumaydah and the Mahamid, two influential sub-families 
of the Hamidah, the principal family of the Beni-Harb 
tribe of Badawin. He therefore aspired to rule all the 
Hamidah, and through them the Beni-Harb, in which 
case he would have been, de facto, monarch of the Holy 
Land. But the Sharif of Meccah, and Ahmad Pasha, 

1 To" halal" is to kill an animal according to Moslem rites : a 
word is wanted to express the act, and we cannot do better than to 
borrow it from the people to whom the practice belongs. 

2 He is now dead, and has been succeeded by a son worse than 

XIII. — From Yamh/C to Biv Abbas. 257 

the Turkish governor of the chief city, for some politi- 
cal reason degraded him, and raised up a rival in the 
person of Shaykh Fahd, another ruffian of a similar 
stamp, who calls himself chief of the Beni-Amr, the 
third sub-family of the Hamidah family. Hence all kinds 
of confusion. Sa'ad's people, who number it is said 
5000, resent, with Arab asperity, the insult offered to 
their chief, and beat Fahd's, who do not amount to 800. 
Fahd, supported by the government, cuts off Sa'ad's 
supplies. Both are equally wild and reckless, and — no- 
where doth the glorious goddess, Liberty, show a more 
brazen face than in this Eastern 

" Inviolate land of the brave and the free ;" 
both seize the opportunity of shooting troopers, of 
plundering travellers, and of closing the roads. This 
state of things continued till I left the Hijaz, when the 
Sharif of Meccah proposed, it was said, to take the field 
in person against the arch-robber. And, as will after- 
wards be seen in these pages, Sa'ad, had the audacity to 
turn back the Sultan's Mahmil or litter — the ensign of 
Imperial power — and to shut the road against its cortege, 
because the Pashas of Al-Madinah and of the Damascus 
caravan would not guarantee his restitution to his former 
dignity. That such vermin is allowed to exist proves the 
imbecility of the Turkish government. The Sultan pays 
pensions in corn and cloth to the very chiefs who arm 
their varlets against him ; and the Pashas, after purloin- 
ing all they can, hand over to their enemies the means of 
resistance. It is more than probable, that Abd al-Majid 
has never heard a word of truth concerning Al-Hijaz, 
and that fulsome courtiers persuade him that men there 
tremble at his name. His government, however, is 
desirous, if report speaks truth, of thrusting Al-Hijaz 
upon the Egyptian, who on his Side would willingly pay 
a large sum to avert such calamity. The Holy Land 
drains off Turkish gold and blood in abundance, and the 
vol. 1. 17 

258 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

lords of the country hold in it a contemptible position. 
If they catch a thief, they dare not hang him. They 
must pay black-mail, and yet be shot at in every pass. 
They affect superiority over the Arabs, hate them, and 
are despised by them. Such in Al-Hijaz are the effects 
of the charter of Gulkhanah, a panacea, like Holloway's 
Pills, for all the evils to which Turkish, Arab, Syrian, 
Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Armenian, Kurd, and Al- 
banian flesh is heir to. Such the results of the Tanzimat, 
the silliest copy of Europe's folly — bureaucracy and 
centralisation — that the pen of empirical statecraft ever 
traced. 1 Under a strong-handed and strong-hearted 
despotism, like Mohammed Ali's, Al-Hijaz, in one genera- 
tion, might be purged of its pests. By a proper use of 
the blood feud ; by vigorously supporting the weaker 
against the stronger classes ; by regularly defeating every 
Badawi who earns a name for himself ; and, above all, 
by the exercise of unsparing, unflinching justice, 2 the 
few thousands of half-naked bandits, who now make the 
land a fighting field, would soon sink into utter insignifi- 

1 The greatest of all its errors was that of appointing to the 
provinces, instead of the single Pasha of the olden time, three 
different governors, civil, military, and fiscal, all depending upon the 
supreme council at Constantinople. Thus each province has three 
plunderers instead of one, and its affairs are referred to a body 
that can take no interest in it. 

2 Ziyad bin Abihi was sent by Al-Mu'awiyah, the Caliph, to reform 
Al-Basrah, a den of thieves ; he made a speech, noticed that he meant 
to rule with the sword, and advised all offenders to leave the city. 
The inhabitants were forbidden under pain of death to appear 
in the streets after evening prayers, and dispositions were made to 
secure the execution of the penalty. Two hundred persons were put 
to death by the patrol during the first night, only five during the 
second, and not a drop of blood was shed afterwards. By similar 
severity, the French put an end to assassination at Naples, and the 
Austrians at Leghorn. We may deplore the necessity of having 
recourse to such means, but it is a silly practice to salve the wound 
which requires the knife. 

XIII. — From YambiC to Biv Abbas. 259 

cance. But to effect such end, the Turks require the 
old stratocracy, which, bloody as it was, worked with far 
less misery than the charter and the new code. What 
Milton calls 

" The solid rule of civil government " 

has done wonders for the race that nurtured and brought 
to perfection an idea spontaneous to their organisation. 
The world has yet to learn that the admirable exotic 
will thrive amongst the country gentlemen of Monomo- 
tapa or the ragged nobility of Al-Hijaz. 1 And it requires 
no prophetic eye to foresee the day when the Wahhabis or 
the Badawin, rising en masse, will rid the land of its 
feeble conquerors. 2 

Sa'ad, the Old Man of the Mountains, was described 
to me as a little brown Badawi ; contemptible in appear- 
ance, but remarkable for courage and ready wit. He 
has for treachery a keen scent, which he requires to keep 
in exercise. A blood feud with Abd al-Muttalib, the 
present Sharif of Meccah, who slew his nephew, and 
the hostility of several Sultans, has rendered his life 
eventful. He lost all his teeth by poison, which 
would have killed him, had he not, after swallowing 
the potion, corrected it by drinking off a large pot- 
full of clarified butter. Since that time he has lived 
entirely upon fruits, which he gathers for himself, and 

1 These remarks were written in 1853 : I see no reason to change 
them in 1878. 

2 A weak monarch, a degenerate government, a state whose cor- 
ruption is evidenced by moral decay, a revenue bolstered up by a 
system of treasury paper, which even the public offices discount at 
from three to six per cent., an army accustomed to be beaten, and dis- 
organised provinces ; these, together with the proceedings of a ruth- 
less and advancing enemy, form the points of comparison between 
the Constantinople of the present day and the Byzantine metropolis 
eight hundred years ago. Fate has marked upon the Ottoman 
Empire in Europe " delenda est" : we are now witnessing the efforts of 
human energy and ingenuity to avert or to evade the fiat. 

260 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

coffee which he prepares with his own hands. In Sultan 
Mahmud's time he received from Constantinople a 
gorgeous purse, which he was told to open, as it con- 
tained something for his private inspection. Suspect- 
ing treachery, he gave it for this purpose to a slave, 
bidding him carry it to some distance ; the bearer was 
shot by a pistol cunningly fixed, like Rob Roy's, in the 
folds of the bag. Whether this far-known story be 
"true or only well found," it is certain that Shaykh Sa'ad 
now fears the Turks, even "when they bring gifts." 
The Sultan sends, or is supposed to send him, presents of 
fine horses, robes of honour, and a large quantity of grain. 
But the Shaykh, trusting to his hills rather than to steeds, 
sells them ; he gives away the dresses to his slaves, and 
he distributes the grain amongst his clansmen. Of his 
character, men, as usual, tell two tales : some praise his 
charity, and call him the friend of the poor, as certainly as 
he is a foe to the rich. Others, on the contrary, describe 
him as cruel, cold-blooded, and notably, even among 
Arabs, revengeful and avaricious. The truth probably lies 
between these two extremes, but I observed that those of 
my companions who spoke most highly of the robber 
chief when at a distance seemed to be in the sudori freddi 
whilst under the shadow of his hills. 

Al-Hamra is the third station from Al-Madinah in 
the Darb Sultani, the "Sultan's" or " High Road," the 
Westerly line leading to Meccah along the sea-coast. 
When the robbers permit, the pilgrims prefer this route 
on account of its superior climate, the facility of pro- 
curing water and supplies, the vicinity of the sea, and the 
circumstance of its passing through "Badr," the scene 
of the Prophet's principal military exploits (a.h. 2). After 
mid-day, on the 21st July, when we had made up our 
minds that Fate had determined we should halt at Al- 
Hamra, a caravan arrived from Meccah ; and the new 
travellers had interest to procure an escort, and permission 

XIII. — From Yambu* to Biv Abbas. 261 

to proceed without delay towards Al-Madinah. The 
good news filled us with joy. A little after four p.m. we 
urged our panting camels over the fiery sands to join the 
Meccans, who were standing ready for the march, on the 
other side of the torrent bed. An hour afterwards we 
started in an Easterly direction. 

My companions having found friends and relations in 
the Meccan caravan, — the boy Mohammed's elder brother, 
about whom more anon, was of the number, — were 
full of news and excitement. At sunset they prayed with 
unction : even Sa'ad and Hamid had not the face to sit 
their camels during the halt, when all around were 
washing, sanding themselves, 1 and busy with their devo- 
tions. We then ate our suppers, remounted, and started 
once more. Shortly after night set in, we came to a 
sudden halt. A dozen different reports rose to account 
for this circumstance, which was occasioned by a band of 
Badawin, who had manned a gorge, and sent forward a 
" parliamentary," ordering us forthwith to stop. They 
at first demanded money to let us pass ; but at last, 
hearing that we were Sons of the Holy Cities, they granted 
us transit on the sole condition that the military, — whom 
they, like Irish peasants, hate and fear, — should return to 
whence they came. Upon this, our escort, 200 men, 
wheeled their horses round and galloped back to their 
barracks. We moved onwards, without, however, seeing 
any robbers ; my camel-man pointed out their haunts, 
and showed me a small bird hovering over a place where 
he supposed water trickled from the rock. The fellow 
had attempted a sneer at my expense when the fray was 
impending. " Why don't you load your pistols, Effendi," 

1 When water cannot be obtained for ablution before prayers, 
Moslems clap the palms of their hands upon the sand, and draw them 
down the face and both fore-arms. This operation, which is per- 
formed once or twice — it varies in different schools — is called 

262 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah 

he cried, " and get out of your litter, and show fight ? 
"Because," I replied as loudly, " in my country, when 
dogs run at us, we thrash them with sticks." This 
stopped Mansur's mouth for a time, but he and I were 
never friends. Like the lowest orders of Orientals, he 
required to be ill-treated ; gentleness and condescension 
he seemed to consider a proof of cowardice or of imbe- 
cility. I began with kindness, but was soon compelled 
to use hard words at first, and then threats, which, though 
he heard them with frowns and mutterings, produced 
manifest symptoms of improvement. 

" Oignez vilain, il vous poindra! 
Poignez vilain, il vous oindra!" 

says the old French proverb, and the axiom is more 
valuable in the East even than in the West. 

Our night's journey had no other incident. We 
travelled over rising ground with the moon full in our 
faces ; and, about midnight, we passed through another long 
straggling line of villages, called Jadaydah, 1 or Al-Khayf. 2 
The principal part of it lies on the left of the road going 
to Al-Madinah; it has a fort like that of Al-Hamra, 
springs of tolerable drinking water, a Nakhil or date- 
ground, and a celebrated (dead) saint, Abd al-Rahim al- 
Burai. A little beyond it lies the Bughaz 3 or defile, 
where in a.d. 181 i Tussun Bey and his 8000 Turks were 
totally defeated by 25,000 Harbi Badawin and Wahhabis. 4 

1 I write this word as my companions pronounced it. Burck- 
hardt similarly gives it "Djedeyde," and Ali Bey " Djideida." 
Giovanni Finati wrongly calls the place " Jedeed Bughaz," which 
Mr. Bankes, his editor, rightly translates the "new opening or pass." 

2 Al-Khayf is a common name for places in this part of Arabia. 
The word literally means a declivity or a place built upon a declivity. 

3 Bughaz means in Turkish the fauces, the throat, and signifies 
also here a gorge, or a mountain pass. It is the word now commonly 
used in Al-Hijaz for the classical "Nakb," or "Mazik." Vincent 
(Periplus) errs in deriving the word from the Italian "Bocca." 

4 Giovanni Finati, who was present at this hard-fought field 

XIII. — From YambiC to Biv Abbas. 263 

This is a famous attacking-point of the Beni-Harb. In 
former times both Jazzar Pasha, thecelebrated "butcher" 
of Syria, and Abdullah Pasha of Damascus, were baffled 
at the gorge of Jadaydah 1 ; and this year the commander of 
the Syrian caravan, afraid of risking an attack at a place 
so ill-omened, avoided it by marching upon Meccah via the 
Desert road of Nijd. At four a.m., having travelled about 
twenty-four miles due East, we encamped at Bir Abbas. 

as a soldier in Tussun's army, gives a lively description of the disas- 
trous "day of Jadaydah" in vol. i. of his work. 

1 This Abdullah, Pasha of Damascus, led the caravan in a.d. 
1756. When the Shaykhs of the Harb tribe came to receive their 
black-mail, he cut off their heads, and sent the trophies to Stambul. 
During the next season the Harb were paralysed by the blow, but in 
the third year they levied 80,000 men, attacked the caravan, pillaged it, 
and slew every Turk that fell into their hands. 




The 22nd July was a grand trial of temper to 
our little party. The position of Bir Abbas exactly 
resembles that of Al-Hamra, except that the bulge of 
the hill-girt Fiumara is at this place about two miles 
wide. There are the usual stone-forts and palm- 
leaved hovels for the troopers, stationed here to hold 
the place and to escort travellers, with a coffee-shed, and 
a hut or two, called a bazar, but no village. Our 
encamping ground was a bed of loose sand, with which 
the violent Samum filled the air ; not a tree or a bush 
was in sight ; a species of hardy locust and swarms of 
flies were the only remnants of animal life : the scene 
was a caricature of Sind. Although we were now some 
hundred feet, to judge by the water-shed, above the level 
of the sea, the mid-day sun scorched even through the 
tent ; our frail tenement was more than once blown down, 
and the heat of the sand made the work of repitching it 
painful. Again my companions, after breakfasting, 
hurried to the coffee-house, and returned one after the 
other with dispiriting reports. Then they either quar- 
relled desperately about nothing, or they threw them- 
selves on their rugs, pretending to sleep in very 
sulkiness. The lady Maryam soundly rated her surly 
son for refusing to fill her chibuk for the twelfth time 
that morning, with the usual religious phrases, "Allah 
direct thee into the right way, O my son!" — meaning 
that he was going to the bad, — and "O my calamity, thy 
mother is a lone woman, O Allah!" — equivalent to the 

XIV.— From Bir Abbas to Al-Madinah. 265 

European parental plaint about grey hairs being brought 
down in sorrow to the grave. Before noon a small 
caravan which followed us came in with two dead bodies, 
— a trooper shot by the Badawin, and an Albanian 
killed by sun-stroke, or the fiery wind. 1 Shortly after 
mid-day a Caravan, travelling in an opposite direction, 
passed by us; it was composed chiefly of Indian pilgrims, 
habited in correct costume, and hurrying towards Meccah 
in hot haste. They had been allowed to pass unmolested, 
because probably a pound sterling could not have been 
collected from a hundred pockets, and Sa'ad the Robber 
sometimes does a cheap good deed. But our party, 

1 The natives of Al-Hijaz assured me that in their Allah-favoured 
land, the Samum never kills a man. I "doubt the fact." This 
Arnaut's body was swollen and decomposing rapidly, the true 
diagnostic of death by the poison-wind. (See Ibn Batuta's voyage, 
" Kabul.") However, as troopers drink hard, the Arabs may still be 
right, the Samum doing half the work, arrack the rest. I travelled 
during the months of July, August, and September, and yet never 
found myself inconvenienced by the "poison-wind" sufficiently to 
make me tie my Kufiyah, Badawi-fashion, across my mouth. At 
the same time I can believe that to an invalid it would be trying, and 
that a man almost worn out by hunger and fatigue would receive 
from it a coup de grace. Niebuhr attributes the extraordinary mortality 
of his companions, amongst other causes, to a want of stimulants. 
Though these might doubtless be useful in the cold weather, or in the 
mountains of Al-Yaman, for men habituated to them from early 
youth, yet nothing, I believe, would be more fatal than strong drink 
when travelling through the Desert in summer heat. The common 
beverage should be water or lemonade ; the strongest stimulants 
coffee or tea. It is what the natives of the country do, and doubt- 
less it is wise to take their example. The Duke of Wellington's 
dictum about the healthiness of India to an abstemious man does not 
require to be quoted. Were it more generally followed, we should 
have less of sun-stroke and sudden death in our Indian armies, when 
soldiers, fed with beef and brandy, are called out to face the violent 
heat. At the same time it must be remembered, that foul and stag- 
nant water, abounding in organic matter, is the cause of half the 
diarrhoea and dysentry which prove so fatal to travellers in these 
regions. To the water-drinker, therefore, a pocket-filter is indis- 

266 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

having valuables with them, did not seem to gather heart 
from this event. In the evening we all went out to see 
some Arab Shaykhs who were travelling to Bir Abbas in 
order to receive their salaries. Without such douceurs, it 
is popularly said and believed, no stone walls could 
enable a Turk to hold Al-Hijaz against the hill-men. 
Such was our system in Afghanistan — most unwise, 
teaching in limine the subject to despise rulers subject to 
blackmail. Besides which, these highly paid Shaykhs do 
no good. When a fight takes place or a road is shut, 
they profess inability to restrain their clansmen ; and the 
richer they are, of course the more formidable they 
become. The party looked well ; they were Harb, 
dignified old men in the picturesque Arab costume, with 
erect forms, fierce thin features, and white beards, well 
armed, and mounted upon high-bred and handsomely 
equipped dromedaries from Al-Shark. 1 Preceded by 
their half-naked clansmen, carrying spears twelve or 
thirteen feet long, garnished with single or double tufts 
of black ostrich feathers, and ponderous matchlocks, 
which were discharged on approaching the fort, they 
were not without a kind of barbaric pomp. 

Immediately after the reception of these Shaykhs, 
there was a parade of the Arnaut Irregular horse. About 
500 of them rode out to the sound of the NakHs or little 
kettle-drum, whose puny notes strikingly contrasted with 
this really martial sight. The men, it is true, were 
mounted on lean Arab and Egyptian nags, ragged- 
looking as their clothes; and each trooper was armed 

1 Al-Shark, " the East," is the popular name in the Hijaz for the 
Western region as far as Baghdad and Bassorah, especially Nijd. The 
latter province supplies the Holy Land with its choicest horses and 
camels. The great heats of the parts near the Red Sea appear pre- 
judicial to animal generation ; whereas the lofty table-lands and the 
broad pastures of Nijd, combined with the attention paid by the 
people to purity of blood, have rendered it the greatest breeding 
country in Arabia. 

XIV. — From Bir Abbas to Al -Madman. 267 

in his own way, though all had swords, pistols and 
matchlocks, or firelocks of some kind. But they rode 
hard as Galway "buckeens," and there was a gallant 
reckless look about the fellows which prepossessed me 
strongly in their favour. Their animals, too, though 
notable " screws," were well trained, and their accoutre- 
ments were intended for use, not show. I watched their 
manoeuvres with curiosity. They left their cantonments 
one by one, and, at the sound of the tom-tom, by degrees 
formed a "plump" or " herse " — column 1 it could not be 
called — all huddled together in confusion. Presently the 
little kettle-drum changed its note and the parade its aspect. 
All the serried body dispersed as would Light Infantry, 
now continuing their advance, then hanging back, then 
making a rush, and all the time keeping up a hot fire 
upon the enemy. At another signal they suddenly put 
their horses to full speed, and, closing upon the centre, 
again advanced in a dense mass. After three-quarters 
of an hour parading, sometimes charging singly, often in 
bodies, to the right, to the left, and straight in front, halt- 
ing when requisite, and occasionally retreating, Parthian- 
like, the Arnauts turned en masse towards their lines. 
As they neared them, all broke off and galloped in, 
ventre a terve, discharging their shotted guns with much 
recklessness against objects assumed to denote the enemy. 
But ball-cartridge seemed to be plentiful hereabouts ; 
during the whole of this and the next day, I remarked 
that bullets, notched for noise, were fired away in mere fun. 2 

1 I mean a civilised column. " Herse" is the old military name 
for a column opposed to " Haye," a line. So we read that at far-famed 
Cressy the French fought en battaille a haye, the English drawn up 
en herse. This appears to have been the national predilection of that 
day. In later times, we and our neighbours changed style, the 
French preferring heavy columns, the English extending themselves 
into lines. 

2 The Albanians, delighting in the noise of musketry, notch the 
ball in order to make it sing the louder. When fighting, they often 

268 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca Ji. 

Barbarous as these movements may appear to the 
Cavalry Martinet of the "good old school," yet to some- 
thing of the kind will the tactics of that arm of the service, 
I humbly opine, return, when the perfect use of the rifle, 
the revolver, and field artillery shall have made the 
present necessarily slow system fatal. Also, if we 
adopt the common sense opinion of a modern writer, 1 and 
determine that "individual prowess, skill in single com- 
bats, good horsemanship, and sharp swords render cavalry 
formidable," these semi-barbarians are wiser in their 
generation than the civilised, who never practise arms 
(properly so called), whose riding-drill never made a good 
rider, whose horses are over-weighted, and whose swords 
are worthless. They have yet another point of superiority 
over us ; they cultivate the individuality of the soldier, 
whilst we strive to make him a mere automaton. In 
the days of European chivalry, battles were a system of 
well-fought duels. This was succeeded by the age of 
discipline, when, to use the language of Rabelais, " men 
seemed rather a consort of organ-pipes, or mutual concord 
of the wheels of a clock, than an infantry and cavalry, or 
army of soldiers." Our aim should now be to combine 
the merits of both systems ; to make men individually 

adopt the excellent plan — excellent, when rifles are not procurable — 
of driving a long iron nail through the bullet, and fixing its head into 
the cartridge. Thus the cartridge is strengthened, the bullet is rifled, 
and the wound which it inflicts is death. Round balls are apt 
to pass into and out of savages without killing them, and many an 
Afghan, after being shot or run through the body, has mortally 
wounded his English adversary before falling. It is false philan- 
thropy, also, to suppose that in battle, especially when a campaign is 
commencing, it is sufficient to maim, not to kill, the enemy. Nothing 
encourages men to fight so much, as a good chance of escaping with 
a wound — especially a flesh wound. I venture to hope that the 
reader will not charge these sentiments with cruelty. He who ren- 
ders warfare fatal to all engaged in it will be the greatest benefactor 
the world has yet known. 

i The late Captain Nolan. 

XIV. — From Biv Abbas to Al-Madinah. 269 

excellent in the use of weapons, and still train them to 
act naturally and habitually in concert. The French 
have given a model to Europe in the Chasseurs de 
Vincennes, — a body capable of most perfect combination, 
yet never more truly excellent than when each man is 
fighting alone. We, I suppose, shall imitate them at 
some future time. 1 

A distant dropping of fire-arms ushered in the 
evening of our first melancholy day at Bir Abbas. This, 
said my companions, was a sign that the troops and 
the hill-men were fighting. They communicated the 
intelligence, as if it ought to be an effectual check 
upon my impatience to proceed ; it acted, however, 
in the contrary way. I supposed that the Badawin, after 
battling out the night, would be less warlike the next 
day ; the others, however, by no means agreed in opinion 
with me. At Yambu' the whole party had boasted loudly 
that the people of Al-Madinah could keep their Badawin 
in order, and had twitted the boy Mohammed with their 
superiority in this respect to his townsmen, the Meccans. 
But now that a trial was impending, I saw none of the 
fearlessness so conspicuous when peril was only pos- 
sible. The change was charitably to be explained by 
the presence of their valuables ; the " Sahhavahs" like 
conscience, making cowards of them all. But the young 
Meccan, who, having sent on his box by sea from Yambu' 

1 The first symptom of improvement will be a general training to 
the Bayonet exercise. The British is, and for years has been, the 
only army in Europe that does not learn the use of this weapon : 
how long does it intend to be the sole authority on the side of ignor- 
ance ? We laughed at the Calabrese levies, who in the French war 
threw away their muskets and drew their stilettos ; and we cannot 
understand why the Indian would always prefer a sabre to a rifle. 
Yet we read without disgust of our men being compelled, by want of 
proper training, to "club their muskets" in hand-to-hand fights, — 
when they have in the bayonet the most formidable of offensive 
weapons, — and of the Kafirs and other savages wresting the piece, 
after drawing off its fire, from its unhappy possessor's grasp. 

270 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

to Jeddah, felt merry, like the empty traveller, would not 
lose the opportunity to pay off old scores. He taunted 
the Madinitestill they stamped and raved with fury. At 
last, fearing some violence, and feeling answerable for the 
boy's safety to his family, I seized him by the nape of his 
neck and the upper posterior portion of his nether 
garments, and drove him before me into the tent. 

When the hubbub had subsided, and all sat after sup- 
per smoking the pipe of peace in the cool night air, I re- 
joined my companions, and found them talking, as usual, 
about old Shaykh Sa'ad. The scene was appropriate for 
the subject. In the distance rose the blue peak said to be 
his eyrie, and the place was pointed out with fearful mean- 
ing. As it is inaccessible to strangers, report has con- 
verted it into another garden of Irani. A glance, how- 
ever, at its position and formation satisfied me that the 
bubbling springs, the deep forests, and the orchards of 
apple-trees, quinces and pomegranates, with which my 
companions furnished it, were a " myth," whilst some 
experience of Arab ignorance of the art of defence 
suggested to me strong doubts about the existence of an 
impregnable fortress on the hill-top. The mountains, 
however, looked beautiful in the moonlight, and distance 
gave them a semblance of mystery well suited to the 
themes which they inspired. 

That night I slept within my Shugduf, for it would 
have been mere madness to sleep on the open plain in a 
place so infested by banditti. The being armed is but a 
poor precaution near this robbers' den. If you wound a 
man in the very act of plundering, an exorbitant sum 
must be paid for blood-money. If you kill him, even to 
save your life, then adieu to any chance of escaping 
destruction. Roused three or four times during the 
night by jackals and dogs prowling about our little camp, 
I observed that my companions, who had agreed 
amongst themselves to keep watch by turns, had all 

XIV. — From Biv Abbas to Al-Madinah. 271 

fallen into a sound sleep. However, when we- awoke in 
the morning, the usual inspection of goods and chattels 
showed that nothing was gone. 

The next day (July 23rd) was a forced halt, a sore 
stimulant to the traveller's ill-humour ; and the sun, the 
sand, the dust, the furious Samum, and the want of certain 
small supplies, aggravated our grievance. My sore foot 
had been inflamed by a dressing of onion skin which the 
lady Maryam had insisted upon applying to it. 1 Still being 
resolved to push forward by any conveyance that could 
be procured, I offered ten dollars for a fresh dromedary to 
take me on to Al-Madinah. Shaykh Hamid also declared 
he would leave his box in charge of a friend and accom- 
pany me. Sa'ad the Demon flew into a passion at the 
idea of any member of the party escaping the general 
evil; and he privily threatened Mohammed to cut off the 
legs of any camel that ventured into camp. This, the 
boy — who, like a boy of the world as he was, never lost 
an opportunity of making mischief — instantly communi- 
cated to me, and it brought on a furious dispute. Sa'ad was 
reproved and apologised for by the rest of the party ; and 
presently he himself was pacified, principally, I believe, 
by the intelligence that no camel was to be hired at Bir 
Abbas. One of the Arnaut garrison, who had obtained 
leave to go to Al-Madinah, came to ask us if we could 
mount him, as otherwise he should be obliged to walk 
the whole way. With him we debated the propriety of 
attempting a passage through the hills by one of the many 
by-paths that traverse them : the project was amply 
discussed, and duly rejected. 

We passed the day in the usual manner ; all crowded 

1 I began to treat it hydropathically with a cooling bandage, but 
my companions declared that the water was poisoning the wound, 
and truly it seemed to get worse every day. This idea is prevalent 
throughout Al-Hijaz ; even the Badawin, after once washing a cut 
or a sore, never allow air or water to touch it. 

272 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

together for shelter under the tent. Even Maryam joined 
us, loudly informing Ali, her son, that his mother was no 
longer a woman but a man ; whilst our party generally, 
cowering away from the fierce glances of the sun, were 
either eating or occasionally smoking, or were occupied 
in cooling and drinking water. About sunset-time came 
a report that we were to start that night. None could 
believe that such good was in store for us ; before sleeping, 
however, we placed each camel's pack apart, so as to be 
ready for loading at a moment's notice; and we took care 
to watch that our Badawin did not drive their animals 
away to any distance. At last, about 11 p.m., as the moon 
was beginning to peep over the Eastern wall of rock, was 
heard the glad sound of the little kettle-drum calling the 
Albanian troopers to mount and march. In the shortest 
possible time all made ready ; and, hurriedly crossing the 
sandy flat, we found ourselves in company with three or 
four Caravans, forming one large body for better defence 
against the dreaded Hawamid. 1 By dint of much 
manoeuvring, arms in hand, — Shaykh Hamid and the 
" Demon " took the prominent parts, — we, though the 
last comers, managed to secure places about the middle 
of the line. On such occasions all push forward reck- 
lessly, as an English mob in the strife of sight-seeing ; the 
rear, being left unguarded, is the place of danger, and none 
seeks the honour of occupying it. 

We travelled that night up the Fiumara in an Easterly . 
direction, and at early dawn (July 24th) found ourselves in 
an ill-famed gorge called Shuab al-Hajj,* 2 the " Pilgrimage 
Pass." The loudest talkers became silent as we neared 
it, and their countenances showed apprehension written 
in legible characters. Presently from the high precipi- 

1 Hawamid is the plural of Hamidah, Shaykh Sa'ad's tribe. 

2 Shuab properly means a path through mountains, or a water- 
course between hills. It is generally used in Arabia for a " Valley," 
and sometimes instead of Nakb, or the Turkish Bughaz, a " Pass." 

XIV. — From Bir Abbas to Al-Madinah. 273 

tous cliff on our left, thin blue curls of smoke — somehow 
or other they caught every eye — rose in the air ; and in- 
stantly afterwards rang the sharp cracks of the hill- 
men's matchlocks, echoed by the rocks on the right. My 
Shugduf had been broken by the camel's falling during 
the night, so I called out to Mansur that we had better 
splice the framework with a bit of rope : he looked up, 
saw me laughing, and with an ejaculation of disgust dis- 
appeared. A number of Badawin were to be seen 
swarming like hornets over the crests of the hills, boys 
as well as men carrying huge weapons, and climbing 
with the agility of cats. They took up comfortable 
places on the cut-throat eminence, and began firing upon 
us with perfect convenience to themselves. The height 
of the hills and the glare of the rising sun prevented my 
seeing objects very distinctly, but my companions 
pointed out to me places where the rock had been scarped, 
and where a kind of rough stone breast work — theSangah of 
Afghanistan — had been piled up as a defence, and a rest for 
the long barrel of the matchlock. It was useless to challenge 
the Badawin to come down and fight us like men upon 
the plain ; they will do this on the Eastern coast of 
Arabia, but rarely, if ever, in Al-Hijaz. And it was 
equally unprofitable for our escort to fire upon a foe en- 
sconced behind stones. Besides which, had a robber 
been killed, the whole country would have risen to a man ; 
with a force of 3,000 or 4,000, they might have gained 
courage to overpower a Caravan, and in such a case not a 
soul would have escaped. As it was, the Badawin 
directed their fire principally against the Albanians. 
Some of these called for assistance to the party of 
Shaykhs that accompanied us from Bir Abbas ; but the 
dignified old men, dismounting and squatting in council 
round their pipes, came to the conclusion that, as the 
robbers would probably turn a deaf ear to their words, 
they had better spare themselves the trouble of speaking-. 
vol. 1. f8 

274 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

We had therefore nothing to do but to blaze away as 
much powder, and to veil ourselves in as much smoke, as 
possible ; the result of the affair was that we lost twelve 
men, besides camels and other beasts of burden. Though 
the bandits showed no symptoms of bravery, and 
confined themselves to slaughtering the enemy from their 
hill-top, my companions seemed to consider this question- 
able affair a most gallant exploit. 

After another hour's hurried ride through the Wady 
Sayyalah, appeared Shuhada, to which we pushed on, 
" Like nighted swain on lonely road, 
When close behind fierce goblins tread." 

Shuhada is a place which derives its name, " The 
Martyrs," because here are supposed to be buried forty 
braves that fell in one of Mohammed's many skirmishes. 
Some authorities consider it the cemetery of the people 
of Wady Sayyalah. 1 The once populous valley is now 
barren, and one might easily pass by the consecrated spot 
without observing a few ruined walls and a cluster of 
rude Badawin graves, each an oval of rough stones lying 
beneath the thorn trees on the left of and a little off the 
road. Another half hour took us to a favourite halting- 
place, Bir al-Hindi, 2 so called from some forgotten Indian 

i Others attribute these graves to the Beni Salim, or Salmah, 
an extinct race of Hijazi Badawin. Near Shuhada is Jabal Warkan, 
one of the mountains of Paradise, also called Irk al-Zabyat, or 
Thread of the Winding Torrent. The Prophet named it " Hamt," 
(sultriness), when he passed through it on his way to the Battle of 
Badr. He also called the valley " Sajasaj," (plural of Sajsaj, a temper- 
ate situation), declared it was a valley of heaven, that 70 prophets 
had prayed there before himself, that Moses with 70,000 Israelites 
had traversed it on his way to Meccah, and that, before the Resur- 
rection day, Isa bin Maryam should pass through it with the inten- 
tion of performing the Greater and the Lesser Pilgrimages. Such are 
the past and such the future honours of the place. 

2 The Indians sink wells in Arabia for the same reason which 
impels them to dig tanks at home, — " nam ke waste," — " for the pur- 
pose of name"; thereby denoting, together with a laudable desire 

XIV. — From Biv Abbas to Al-Madinah. 275 

who dug a well there. But we left it behind, wishing to 
put as much space as we could between our tents and the 
nests of the Hamidah. Then quitting the Fiumara, we 
struck Northwards into a well-trodden road running over 
stony rising ground. The heat became sickening ; here, 
and in the East generally, at 410 time is the sun more dan- 
gerous than between eight and nine a.m. Still we hurried 
on. It was not before eleven a.m. that we reached our 
destination, a rugged plain covered with stones, coarse 
gravel, and thorn trees in abundance ; and surrounded by 
inhospitable rocks, pinnacle-shaped, of granite below, and 
in the upper parts fine limestone. The well was at least 
two miles distant, and not a hovel was in sight ; a few 
Badawi children belonging to an outcast tribe fed their 
starveling goats upon the hills. This place is called 
"Suwaykah"; it is, I was told, that celebrated in the 
history of the Arabs. 1 Yet not for this reason did my com- 
rades look lovingly upon its horrors : their boxes were 
safe and with the eye of imagination they could now behold 
their homes. That night we must have travelled about 
twenty-two miles ; the direction of the road was due East, 
and the only remarkable feature in the ground was its 
steady rise. 

for posthumous fame, a notable lack of ingenuity in securing it. 
For it generally happens that before the third generation has fallen, 
the well and the tank have either lost their original names, or have 
exchanged them for others newer and better known. 

1 Suwaykah derives its name from the circumstance that in the 
second, or third, year of the Hijrah (Hegira), Mohammed here 
attacked Abu Sufiyan, who was out on a foray with 200 men. The 
Infidels, in their headlong fight, lightened their beasts by emptying 
their bags of " Sawik." This is the old and modern Arabic name 
for a dish of green grain, toasted, pounded, mixed with dates or 
sugar, and eaten on journeys when it is found difficult to cook. Such 
is the present signification of the word : M. C. de Perceval (vol. iii., 
p. 84) gives it a different and a now unknown meaning. And our 
popular authors erroneously call the affair the "War of the Meal- 

276 Pilgv image to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

We pitched the tent under a villainous Mimosa, 
the tree whose shade is compared by poetic Badawin 
to the false friend who deserts you in your utmost 
need. I enlivened the hot dull day by a final affair 
with Sa'ad the Demon. His alacrity at Yambu' ob- 
tained for him the loan of a couple of dollars : he 
had bought grain at Al-Hamra, and now we were 
near Al-Madinah : still there was not a word about 
repayment. And knowing that an Oriental debtor 
discharges his debt as he pays his rent, — namely, 
with the greatest unwillingness, — and that, on the other 
hand, an Oriental creditor will devote the labour of a year 
to recovering a sixpence, I resolved to act as a native of 
the country, placed in my position, would ; and by dint of 
sheer dunning and demanding pledges, to recover my 
property. About noon Sa'ad the Demon, after a furious rush, 
bare-headed, through the burning sun, flung the two dollars 
down upon my carpet : however, he presently recovered 
temper, and, as subsequent events showed, I had chosen 
the right part. Had he not been forced to repay his debt, 
he would have despised me as a "freshman," and would 
have coveted more. As it was, the boy Mohammed bore 
the brunt of unpopular feeling, my want of liberality being 
traced to his secret and perfidious admonitions. He sup- 
ported his burden the more philosophically, because, as he 
notably calculated, every dollar saved at Al-Madinah 
would be spent under his stewardship at Meccah. 

At four p.m. (July 24th) we left Suwaykah, all of us in the 
crossest of humours, and travelled in a N.E. direction. So 
"out of temper " were my companions, that at sunset, of the 
whole party, Omar EfTendi was the only one who would eat 
supper. The rest sat upon the ground, pouting, grumbling, 
and — they had been allowed to exhaust my stock of 
Latakia — smoking Syrian tobacco as if it were a grievance. 
Such a game at naughty children, I have seldom seen 
played even by Oriental men. The boy Mohammed 

XIV. — Front Bir Abbas to Al-Madinah. 277 

privily remarked to me that the camel-men's beards were 
now in his fist, — meaning that we were out of their kins- 
men, the Harb's, reach. He soon found an opportunity 
to quarrel with them ; and, because one of his questions 
was not answered in the shortest possible time, he pro- 
ceeded to abuse them in language which sent their hands 
flying in the direction of their swords. Despite, however, 
this threatening demeanour, the youth, knowing that he 
now could safely go to any lengths, continued his ill words, 
and Mansur's face was so comically furious, that I felt too 
much amused to interfere. At last the camel-men dis- 
appeared, thereby punishing us most effectually for our 
sport. The road lay up rocky hill and down stony vale ; 
a tripping and stumbling dromedary had been substituted 
for the usual monture: the consequence was that we had 
either a totter or a tumble once per mile during the whole of 
that long night. In vain the now fiery Mohammed called 
for the assistance of the camel-men with the full force of 
his lungs : " Where be those owls, those oxen of the oxen, 
those beggars, those cut-off ones, those foreigners, those 
Sons of Flight l ? withered be their hands ! palsied be their 
fingers ! the foul mustachioed fellows, basest of the Arabs 
that ever hammered tent-peg, sneaking cats, goats of Al- 
Akhfash ! a Truly I will torture them the torture of the 
oil, 3 the mines of infamy! the cold of countenance! 4 " 
The Badawi brotherhood of the camel-men looked at him 
wickedly, muttering the while, — " By Allah ! and by Allah ! 

1 A popular but not a bad pun — " Harb " (Fight), becomes, by 
the alteration of the H, " Harb " (Flight). 

2 The old Arabic proverb is " A greater wiseacre than the goat 
of Akhfash" ; it is seldom intelligible to the vulgar. 

3 That is to say, " I will burn them (metaphorically) as the fiery 
wick consumes the oil," — a most idiomatic Hijazi threat. 

4 A " cold-of-countenance " is a fool . Arabs use the word ' ' cold ' ' 
in a peculiar way. "May Allah refrigerate thy countenance !" i.e. 
may it show misery and want. " By Allah, a cold speech !" that is 
to say, a silly or an abusive tirade. 

278 Pilgrimage to Al-Madimh and Meccah. 

and by Allah ! O boy, we will flog thee like a hound when 
we catch thee in the Desert ! " All our party called upon 
him to desist, but his temper had got completely the upper 
hand over his discretion, and he expressed himself in such 
classic and idiomatic Hijazi, that I had not the heart to 
stop him. Some days after our arrival at Al-Madinah, 
Shaykh Hamid warned him seriously never again to go 
such perilous lengths, as the Beni Harb were celebrated 
for shooting or poniarding the man who ventured to use 
to them even the mild epithet "O jackass ! " And in the 
quiet of the city the boy Mohammed, like a sobered man 
shuddering at dangers braved when drunk, hearkened 
with discomposure and penitence to his friend's words. 
The only immediate consequence of his abuse was that my 
broken Shugduf became a mere ruin, and we passed the 
dark hours perched like two birds upon the only entire 
bits of framework the cots contained. 

The sun had nearly risen (July 25th) before I shook off 
the lethargic effects of such a night. All around me were 
hurrying their camels, regardless of rough ground, and not 
a soul spoke a word to his neighbour. " Are there robbers 
in sight ?" was the natural question. " No !" replied 
Mohammed ; " they are walking with their eyes, 1 they will 
presently see their homes!" Rapidly we passed the 
Wady al-Akik, 2 of which, 

" O my friend, this is Akik, then stand by it, 
Endeavouring to be distracted by love, if not really a lover," 3 

1 That is to say, they would use, if necessary, the dearest and 
noblest parts of their bodies (their eyes) to do the duty of the basest 
[i.e. their feet). 

2 Writers mention two Al-Akik. The superior comprises the 
whole site of Al-Madinah, extending from the Western Ridge, men- 
tioned below, to the cemetery Al-Bakia. The inferior is the Fiumara 
here alluded to ; it is on the Meccan road, about four miles S.W. of 
Al-Madinah, and its waters fall into the Al-Hamra torrent. It is 
called the " Blessed Valley " because the Prophet was ordered by an 
angel to pray in it. 

3 The esoteric meaning of this couplet is, " Man ! this is a lovely 

XIV. — From Biv Abbas to Al-Madinah. 279 

and a thousand other such pretty things, have been said 
by the Arab poets. It was as " dry as summer's dust," 
and its "beautiful trees " appeared in the shape of vege- 
table mummies. Half an hour after leaving the " Blessed 
Valley " we came to a huge flight of steps roughly cut in a 
long broad line of black scoriaceous basalt. This is termed 
the Mudarraj or flight of steps over the western ridge of 
the so-called Al-Harratayn. 1 It is holy ground ; for the 
Apostle spoke well of it. Arrived at the top, we passed 
through a lane of dark lava, with steep banks on both 
sides, and after a few minutes a full view of the city sud- 
denly opened upon us. 2 

We halted our beasts as if by word of command. All 
of us descended, in imitation of the pious of old, and sat 
down, jaded and hungry as we were, to feast our eyes 
with a view of the Holy City. 

" O Allah ! this is the Harim (sanctuary) of Thy 
Apostle ; make it to us a Protection from Hell Fire, 
and a Refuge from Eternal Punishment ! O open the 
Gates of Thy Mercy, and let us pass through them to 
the Land of Joy!" and "O Allah, bless the last of 
Prophets, the Seal of Prophecy, with Blessings in number 

portion of God's creation : then stand by it, and here learn to love 
the perfections of thy Supreme Friend." 

1 Al-Harratayn for Al-Harratani, the oblique case of the dual and 
plural noun being universally used for the nominative in colloquial 
Arabic. The other one of the Two Ridges will be described in a 
future part of this Book. 

2 The city is first seen from the top of the valley called Nakb, or 
Shuab Ali, close to the Wady al-Akik, a long narrow pass, about five 
miles from Al-Madinah. Here, according to some, was the Mosque 
Zu'l Halifah, where the Prophet put on the Pilgrim's garb when 
travelling to Meccah. It is also called "The Mosque of the Tree," 
because near it grew a fruit tree under which the Prophet twice sat. 
Ibn Jubayr considers that the Harim (or sacred precincts of Al- 
Madinah) is the space enclosed by three points, Zu'l Halifah, Mount 
Ohod, and the Mosque of Kuba. To the present day pilgrims doff 
their worldly garments at Zu'l Halifah. 

280 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

as the Stars of Heaven, and the Waves of the Sea, and 
the Sands of the Waste — bless him, Lord of Might 
and Majesty, as long as the Corn-field and the Date- 
grove continue to feed Mankind 1 ! " And again, " Live 
for ever, O Most Excellent of Prophets ! — live in the 
Shadow of Happiness during the Hours of Night and the 
Times of Day, whilst the Bird of the Tamarisk (the dove) 
moaneth like the childless Mother, whilst the West-wind 
bloweth gently over the Hills of Nijd, and the Lightning 
flasheth bright in the Firmament of Al-Hijaz !" 

Such were the poetical exclamations that rose all 
around me, showing how deeply tinged with imagination 
becomes the language of the Arab under the influence 
of strong passion or religious enthusiasm. I now under- 
stood the full value of a phrase in the Moslem ritual, 
"And when his" (the pilgrim's) "eyes shall fall upon 
the Trees of Al-Madinah, let him raise his Voice and bless 
the Apostle with the choicest of Blessings." In al 
the fair view before us nothing was more striking, after 
the desolation through which we had passed, than 
the gardens and orchards about the town. It was 
impossible not to enter into the spirit of my com- 
panions, and truly I believe that for some minutes my 
enthusiasm rose as high as theirs. But presently when 
we remounted, 2 the traveller returned strong upon me : 
I made a rough sketch of the town, put questions about 
the principal buildings, and in fact collected materials for 
the next chapter. 

i That is to say, " throughout all ages and all nations." The 
Arabs divide the world into two great bodies : first themselves, and, 
secondly, *' 'Ajami," i.e. all that are not Arabs. Similar bi-partitions 
are the Hindus and Mlenchhas, the Jews and Gentiles, the Greeks 
and Barbarians, &c., &c. 

2 Robust religious men, especially those belonging to the school 
of Al-Malik, enter into Al-Madinah, after the example of Ali, on 
foot, reverently, as the pilgrims approach Meccah. 

XIV. — From Bir Abbas to Al-Madinah. 281 

The distance traversed that night was about twenty- 
two miles in a direction varying from easterly to north- 
easterly. We reached Al-Madinah on the 25th July, thus 
taking nearly eight days to travel over little more than 
130 miles. This journey is performed with camels in four 
days, and a good dromedary will do it without difficulty 
in half that time. 1 

1 Barbosa makes three days' journey from Yambu' to Al- 
Madinah, D'Herbelot eight, and Ovington six. The usual time is 
from four to five days. A fertile source of error to home geo- 
graphers, computing distances in Arabia, is their neglecting the 
difference between the slow camel travelling and the fast dromedary 

The following is a synopsis of our stations : — 


i. From Yambu', 18th July, to Musahhal, N.E. ... 16) 

2. From Musahhal, 19th July, to Bir Sa'id, S. and E. . 34 L 64 miles 

3. From Bir Sa'id, 20th July, to Al-Hamra, N.E. . . . 14) 

4. From Al-Hamra, 21st July, to Bir Abbas, E. ... 24) 

5. From Bir Abbas, 23rd July, to Suwaykah, E. ... 22 1 68 miles 

6. From Suwaykah, 24th July, to Al-Madinah, N. and E. 22) 

Total English miles . . 132 





° 3 



hamid's HOUSE. 

As we looked Eastward, the sun arose out of the 
horizon of low hill, blurred and dotted with small tufted 
trees, which gained from the morning mists a giant 
stature, and the earth was stained with purple and gold. 
Before us lay a spacious plain, bounded in front by the 
undulating ground of Nijd : on the left was a grim pile 
of rocks, the celebrated Mount Ohod, with a clump of 
verdure and a white dome or two nestling at its base. 
Rightwards, broad streaks of lilac-coloured mists, here 
thick with gathered dew, there pierced and thinned by 
the morning rays, stretched over the date groves and 
the gardens of Kuba, which stood out in emerald green 
from the dull tawny surface of the plain. Below, dis- 
tant about two miles, lay Al-Madinah ; at first sight it 
appeared a large place, but a closer inspection proved 
the impression to be erroneous. A tortuous road from 
the Harrah to the city wound across the plain, and 
led to a tall rectangular gateway, pierced in the ruinous 
mud-wall which surrounds the suburb. This is the 
" Ambari " entrance. It is flanked on the left (speaking 
as a sketcher) by the domes and minarets of a pretty 
Turkish building, a " Takiyah," erected by the late Mo- 
hammed Ali for the reception of Darwaysh travellers ; on 
the right by a long low line of white-washed buildings garn- 

286 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

ished with ugly square windows, an imitation of civilised 
barracks. Beginning from the left hand, as we sat upon 
the ridge, the remarkable features of the town thus pre- 
sented themselves in succession. Outside, among the 
palm trees to the north of the city, were the picturesque 
ruins of a large old Sabil, or public fountain ; and, between 
this and the enceinte, stood a conspicuous building, in the 
Turkish pavilion style — the Governor's palace. On the 
north-west angle of the town-wall is a tall white-washed 
fort, partly built upon an outcropping mass of rock : its 
ramparts and embrasures give it a modern and European 
appearance, which contrasts strangely with its truly 
Oriental history. 1 In the suburb " Al-Manakhah," the 
11 kneeling-place of camels," the bran-new domes and 
minarets of the Five Mosques stand brightly out from 
the dull grey mass of house and ground. And behind, 
in the most Easterly part of the city, remarkable 
from afar, is the gem of Al-Madinah, — the four tall 
substantial towers, and the flashing green Dome under 
which the Apostle's remains rest. 2 Half concealed 
by this mass of buildings and by the houses of the 
town, are certain white specks upon a green surface, 
the tombs that adorn the venerable cemetery, Al-Bakia. 
From that point southwards begins the mass of palm 
groves celebrated in Al-Islam as the " Trees of Al- 

i In the East, wherever there is a compound of fort and city, 
that place has certainly been in the habit of being divided against 
itself. Surat in Western India is a well-known instance. I must 
refer the reader to Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. ii., page 281, 
and onwards) for a detailed account of the feuds and affrays between 
the " Agha of the Castle " and the " Agha of the Town." Their day 
has now gone by, — for the moment. 

2 Sir John Mandeville, writing in the 14th century, informed 
Europe that " Machomet lyeth in the Cytee of Methone." In the 
19th century, Mr. Halliwell, his editor, teaches us in a foot-note that 
"Methone" is Meccah! It is strange how often this gross mis- 
take is still made by respectable authors in France as well as in 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House. 287 

Madinah." The foreground is well fitted to set off such 
a view ; fields of black basaltic scoriae showing clear signs 
of a volcanic origin, are broken up into huge blocks and 
boulders, through which a descent, tolerably steep for 
camels, winds down into the plain. 

After a few minutes' rest I remounted, and slowly 
rode on towards the gate. Even at this early hour the 
way was crowded with an eager multitude coming out to 
meet the Caravan. My companions preferred walking, 
apparently for the better convenience of kissing, em- 
bracing, and skaking hands with relations and friends. 
Truly the Arabs show more heart on these occasions 
than any Oriental people I know ; they are of a more 
affectionate nature than the Persians, and their manners 
are far more demonstrative than those of the Indians. 
The respectable Maryam's younger son, a pleasant con- 
trast to her surly elder, was weeping aloud for joy as he 
ran round his mother's camel, he standing on tiptoe, she 
bending double in vain attempts to exchange a kiss ; and, 
generally, when near relatives or intimates, or school 
companions, met, the fountains of their eyes were 
opened. Friends and comrades greeted one another, 
regardless of rank or fortune, with affectionate embraces, 
and an abundance of queries, which neither party seemed 
to think of answering. The general mode of saluting 
was to throw one arm over the shoulder and the other 
round the side, placing the chin first upon the left and 
then upon the right collar-bone, and rapidly shifting till 
a "jam satis" suggested itself to both parties. Inferiors 
recognized their superiors by attempting to kiss hands, 
which were violently snatched away ; whilst mere acquaint- 
ances gave each other a cordial "poignee de mains" and 
then raising the finger tips to their lips, kissed them 
with apparent relish. 

Passing through the Bab Ambari we denied slowly 
down a broad dusty street, and traversed the Harat 

288 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

(Quarter), Al-Ambariyah, the principal in the Manakhah 
suburb. The thoroughfare is by no means remarkable 
after Cairo ; only it is rather wider and more regular 
than the traveller is accustomed to in Asiatic cities. I 
was astonished to see on both sides of the way, in so 
small a place, so large a number of houses too ruinous 
to be occupied. Then we crossed a bridge, a single 
little round arch of roughly hewn stone, built over the 
bed of a torrent, Al-Sayh, 1 which in some parts appeared 
about fifty feet broad, with banks showing a high and 
deeply indented water-mark. Here the road abuts 
upon an open space called the " Barr al-Manakhah,' 2 " or 
more concisely Al-Barr, " the Plain. ' ; Straightforward 
a line leads directly into the Bab al-Misri, the Egyptian 
gate of the city. But we turned off to the right ; and, 
after advancing a few yards, we found ourselves at the 
entrance of our friend Hamid's house. 

The Shaykh had preceded us early that morning, in 
order to prepare an apartment for his guests, and to re- 
ceive the first loud congratulations and embraces of his 
mother and the "daughter of his uncle. 3 " Apparently he 
had not concluded this pleasing duty when we arrived, 
for the camels were kneeling at least five minutes at his 
door, before he came out to offer the usual hospitable 
salutation. I stared to see the difference of his appear- 
ance this morning. The razor had passed over his head 

i This torrent is called Al-Sayh, — " the Running Water," — 
which, properly speaking, is the name of a well-wooded Wady out- 
side the town, in the direction of Kuba. 

2 " Manakhah " is a place where camels kneel down ; it is a deriva- 
tion from the better known root to "Nakh," or cause the animal to 

3 Arabs, and, indeed, most Orientals, are generally received after 
returning from a journey, with shrill cries of joy by all the fair part 
of the household, and they do not like strangers to hear this demon- 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House. 2I 

and face 1 ; the former was now surmounted by a muslin 
turband of goodly size, wound round a new embroidered 
cap; and the latter, besides being clean, boasted of neat 
little moustaches turned up like two commas, whilst a 
well-trimmed goat's beard narrowed until it resembled 
what our grammars call an "exclamation point." The 
dirty, torn shirt, with the bits of rope round the loins, had 
been exchanged for a Jubbah or outer cloak of light pink 
merinos, a long-sleeved Caftan of rich flowered stuif, a fine 
shirt of Halaili, 2 silk and cotton, and a sash of plaid pattern, 
elaborately fringed at both ends, and, for better display, 
wound round two-thirds of his body. His pantaloons 
were also of Halaili, with tasteful edgings about the ankles 
like a " pantilette's," while his bare and sun-burnt feet 
had undergone a thorough purification before being 
encased in new Mizz z (inner slippers), and Papush (outer 
slippers), of bright lemon-coloured leather of the newest 
and most fashionable Constantinopolitan cut. In one 
of his now delicate hands the Shaykh bore a mother- 
of-pearl rosary, token of piety ; in the other a hand- 
some pipe with a jasmine stick, and an expensive 
amber mouth-piece ; his tobacco pouch, dangling 
from his waist, like the little purse in the bosom 
pocket of his coat, was of broadcloth richly em- 
broidered with gold. In course of time I saw that all 

1 An Eastern Barber is not content to pass the razor over hairy 
spots-: he must scrape the forehead, trim the eyebrows, clean the 
cheeks, run the blade rapidly over the nose, correct the upper and 
under lines of the mustaches, parting them in the centre, and so on. 

2 Halaili is a cotton stuff, with long stripes of white silk, a 
favourite material amongst the city Arabs. At Constantinople, 
where the best is sold, the piece, which will cut into two shirts, 
costs about thirty shillings. 

3 The "Mizz" (in colloquial Arabic Misd) are the tight-fitting 
inner slippers of soft Cordovan leather, worn as stockings inside the 
slipper ; they are always clean, so they may be retained in the Mosque 
or on the Diwan (divan or sofa) . 

VOL. I. tq 

290 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

my companions had metamorphosed themselves in an 
equally remarkable manner. As men of sense they 
appeared in tatters where they were, or when they wished 
to be, unknown, and in fine linen where and when the world 
judged their prosperity by their attire. Their grand suits 
of clothes, therefore, were worn only for a few days after 
returning from the journey, by way of proof that the wearer 
had wandered to some purpose ; they were afterwards 
laid up in lavender, and reserved for choice occasions, as 
old ladies in Europe store up their state dresses. 

The Shaykh, whose manners had changed with his 
garments, from the vulgar and boisterous to a certain 
staid courtesy, took my hand, and led me up to the 
Majlis 1 (parlour), which was swept and garnished, with 
all due apparatus, for the forthcoming reception-ceremony. 
And behind us followed the boy Mohammed, looking 
more downcast and ashamed of himself than I can possibly 
describe ; he was still in his rags, and he felt keenly that 
every visitor staring at him would mentally inquire, — 

"Who may that snob be ? " 

With the deepest dejectedness he squeezed himself 
into a corner, and Shaykh Nur, who was foully dirty, as 
an Indian en voyage always is, would have joined him in 
his shame, had I not ordered the "slave" to make 
himself generally useful. 

It is customary for all relations and friends to call 
upon the traveller the very day he returns, that is to say, 
if amity is to endure. The pipes therefore stood ready 
filled, the Diwans were duly spread, and the coffee' 2 was 
being boiled upon a brazier in the passage. 

1 The Majlis (" the Place of Sitting ") is the drawing or reception 
room ; it is usually in the first story of the house, below the apart- 
ments of the women. 

2 The coffee drank at Al-Madinah is generally of a good quality. 
In Egypt that beverage in the common coffee-shops is, — as required 
to be by the people who frequent those places, — " bitter as death, 
black as Satan, and hot as Jahannam." To effect this desideratum, 

19 2 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House. 291 

Scarcely had I taken my place at the cool window- 
s-i 11, — it was the best in the room, — when the visitors 
began to pour in, and the Shaykh rose to welcome and 
embrace them. They sat down, smoked, chatted politics, 
asked all manner of questions about the other wayfarers 
and absent friends ; drank coffee ; and, after half an 
hour's visit, rose abruptly, and, exchanging embraces, 
took leave. The little men entered the assembly, after 
an accolade at the door, noiselessly, squatted upon the 
worst seats with polite conges to the rest of the assembly ; 
smoked, took their coffee, as it were, under protest, and 
glided out of the room as quietly as they crept in. 

The great people, generally busy and consequential 
individuals, upon whose countenances were writ large the 
words "well to do in the world," appeared with a noise 
that made each person in the room rise reverentially upon 
his feet ; sat down with importance, monopolised the 
conversation ; and, departing in a dignified manner, 
expected all to stand on the occasion. 

The Jihad (Holy War), as usual, was the grand 
topic of conversation. The Sultan had ordered the Czar 
to become a Moslem. The Czar had sued for peace, and 
offered tribute and fealty. But the Sultan had exclaimed — 

"No, by Allah! Al-Islam!" 

therefore, they toast the grain to blackness, boil it to bitterness, and 
then drink scalding stuff of the consistency of water-gruel. At Al- 
Madinah^m the contrary, — as indeed in the houses of the better 
classes even in Egypt, — the grain rs carefully picked, and that the 
flavour may be preserved, it is never put upon the fire until required. 
It is toasted too till it becomes yellow, not black ; and afterwards is 
bruised, not pounded to powder. The water into which it is thrown 
is allowed to boil up three times, after which a cold sprinkling is 
administered to clear it, and then the fine light-dun infusion is 
poured off into another pot. Those who admire the " Kaimak," or 
froth, do not use a second vessel. The Arabs seldom drink more than 
one cup of coffee at a time, but with many the time is every half- 
hour of the day. The coffee-husk or "Kishr" of Al-Yaman is here 

292 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

The Czar could not be expected to take such a step 
without a little hesitation, but "Allah smites the faces of 
the Infidels!" Abd al-Majid would dispose of the 
"Moskow 1 " in a short time ; after which he would turn 
his victorious army against all the idolaters of Feringistan, 
beginning with the English, the French, and the Arwam 
or Greeks. 2 Amongst much of this nonsense, — when 
applied to for my opinion, I was careful to make it 
popular, — I heard news foreboding no good to my journey 
towards Maskat. The Badawin had decided that there 
was to be an "Arab contingent," and had been looking 
forward to the spoils of Europe : this caused quarrels, as 
all the men wanted to go, and not a ten-year-old would 
be left behind. The consequence was, that this amiable 
people was fighting in all directions. At least so said 
the visitors, and I afterwards found out that they were 
not far wrong. 

The Samman is a great family, in numbers as in 
dignity ; from 8 a.m. till mid-day therefore the Majlis was 
crowded with people, and politeness delayed our break- 
fasts until an unconscionable hour. 

To the plague of strangers succeeded that of children. 
No sooner did the parlour become, comparatively speaking, 
vacant than they rushed in en masse, treading upon our 
toes, making the noise of a nursery of madlings, pulling 
to pieces everything they could lay their hands upon, and 
using language that would have alarmed an old man-o'- 
war's-man. 3 In fact, no one can conceive the plague but 

1 The common name for the Russians in Egypt and Al-Hijaz. 

2 The Greeks are well known at Al-Madinah, and several of the 
historians complain that some of the minor holy places had fallen 
into the hands of this race, (Moslems, or pretended Moslems, I pre- 
sume), who prevented people visiting them. It is curious that the 
impostor Cagliostro should have hit upon the truth when he located 
Greeks at Al-Madinah 

3 Parents and full-grown men amuse themselves with grossly 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House. 293 

those who have studied the " cnfans terribles" which India 
sends home in cargoes. 

One urchin, scarcely three years old, told me, because 
I objected to his perching upon my wounded foot, that 
his father had a sword at home with which he would cut 
my throat from ear to ear, suiting the action to the word. 
By a few taunts, I made the little wretch furious with 
rage ; he shook his infant fist at me, and then opening 
his enormous round black eyes to their utmost stretch, 
he looked at me, and licked his knee with portentous 
meaning. Shaykh Hamid, happening to come in at the 
moment, stood aghast at the doorway, chin in hand, to 
see the Effendi subject to such indignity ; and it was not 
without trouble that I saved the offender from summary 
nursery discipline. Another scamp caught up one of my 
loaded pistols before I could snatch it out of his hand, 
and clapped it to his neighbour's head ; fortunately, it 
was on half-cock, and the trigger was stiff. Then a 
serious and majestic boy about six years old, with an ink- 
stand in his belt, in token of his receiving a literary educa- 
tion, seized my pipe and began to smoke it with huge 
puffs. I ventured laughingly to institute a comparison be- 
tween the length of his person and the pipe-stick, when 
he threw it upon the ground, and stared at me fixedly 
with naming eyes and features distorted by anger. The 
cause of this " bouldness " soon appeared. The boys, in- 
stead of being well beaten, were scolded with fierce faces, 
a mode of punishment which only made them laugh. 

They had their redeeming points, however ; they were 
manly angry boys, who punched one another like Anglo- 
Saxons in the house, whilst abroad they were always 

abusing children, almost as soon as they can speak, in order to excite 
their rage, and to judge of their dispositions. This supplies the 
infant population with a large stock-in-trade of ribaldry. They 
literally lisp in bad language. 

294 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mcccah. 

fighting with sticks and stones. And they examined our 
weapons, — before deigning to look at anything else, — as 
if eighteen instead of five had been the general age. 

At last I so far broke through the laws of Arab polite- 
ness as to inform my host in plain words — how inconceiv- 
ably wretched the boy Mohammed was thereby rendered ! 
— that I was hungry, thirsty, and sleepy, and that I 
wanted to be alone before visiting the Harim. The good- 
natured Shaykh, who was preparing to go out at once in 
order to pray before his father's grave, immediately 
brought me breakfast ; lighted a pipe, spread a bed, 
darkened the room, turned out the children, and left me 
to the society I most desired — my own. I then overheard 
him summon his mother, wife, and other female relatives 
into the store-room, where his treasures had been carefully 
stowed away. During the forenoon, in the presence of 
the visitors, one of Hamid's uncles had urged him, half 
jocularly, to bring out the Sahharah. The Shaykh did 
not care to do anything of the kind. Every time a new 
box is opened in this part of the world, the owner's gener- 
osity is appealed to by those whom a refusal offends, and 
he must allow himself to be plundered with the best pos- 
sible grace. Hamid therefore prudently suffered all to 
depart before exhibiting his spoils ; which, to judge by 
the exclamations of delight which they elicited from femi- 
nine lips, proved highly satisfactory to those most con- 

After sleeping, we all set out in a body to the Harim, 
as this is a duty which must not be delayed by the pious. 
The boy Mohammed was in better spirits, — the effect of 
having borrowed from Hamid, amongst other articles of 
clothing, an exceedingly gaudy embroidered coat. As for 
Shaykh Nur, he had brushed up his Tarbush, and, by 
means of some cast-off dresses of mine, had made himself 
look like a respectable Abyssinian slave, in a nondescript 
toilette, half Turkish, half Indian. I propose to reserve 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid 's House. 295 

the ceremony of Ziyarat, or Visitation, for another chap- 
ter, and to conclude this with a short account of our style 
of living at the Shaykh's hospitable house. 

Hamid's abode is a small corner building, open on 
the North and East to the Barr al-Manakhah : the ground 
floor shows only a kind of vestibule, in which coarse 
articles, like old Shugdufs, mats and bits of sacking, are 
lying about ; the rest are devoted to purposes of sewer- 
age. Ascending dark winding steps of ragged stone 
covered with hard black earth, you come to the first floor, 
where the men live. It consists of two rooms to the front 
of the house, one a Majlis, and another converted into a 
store. Behind them is a dark passage, into which the 
doors open ; and the back part of the first story is a long 
windowless room, containing a Hanafiyah, 1 or large copper 
water-pot, and other conveniences for purification. On 
the second floor is the kitchen, which I did not inspect, 
it being as usual occupied by the " Hafim." 

The Majlis has dwarf windows, or rather apertures 
in the northern and eastern walls, with rude wooden 
shutters and reed blinds ; the embrasures being garnished 
with cushions, where you sit, morning and evening, to 
enjoy the cool air. The ceiling is of date-sticks laid across 
palm-rafters stained red, and the walls are of rough 
scoriae, burnt bricks, and wood-work cemented with lime. 
The only signs of furniture in the sitting-room are a 
Diwan 2 round the sides and. a carpet in the centre. A 

1 The Hanafiyah is a large vessel of copper, sometimes tinned, 
with a cock in the lower part, and, generally, an ewer, or a basin, to 
receive the water. 

2 It is wonderful that this most comfortable, inexpensive, and 
ornamental style of furnishing a room, has not been oftener imitated 
in India and the hot countries of Europe. The Diwan — it must not 
be confounded with the leathern perversion which obtains that name 
in our club smoking-rooms — is a line of fiat cushions ranged round 
the room, either placed upon the ground, or on wooden benches, or 
on a step of masonry, varying in height according to the fashion of 

296 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinali and Meccah. 

huge wooden box, like a seaman's chest, occupies one of 
the corners. In the southern wall there is a Suffah, or 
little shelf of common stone, sunk under a single arch ; 
upon this are placed articles in hourly use, perfume- 
bottles, coffee-cups, a stray book or two, and sometimes 
a turband, to be out of the children's way. Two hooks on 
the western wall, hung jealously high up, hold a pair of 
pistols with handsome crimson cords and tassels, and 
half a dozen cherry-stick pipes. The centre of the room 
is never without one or more Shishas 1 (water pipes), and 
in the corner is a large copper brazier containing fire, 
with all the utensils for making coffee either disposed 
upon its broad brim or lying about the floor. The passage, 
like the stairs, is spread over with hard black earth, and 
is regularly watered twice a day during the hot weather. 
The household consisted of Hamid's mother, wife, 
some nephews and nieces, small children who ran about 
in a half-wild and more than half-nude state, and two 
African slave girls. When the Damascus Caravan came 

the clay. When such foundation is used, it should be about a yard 
in breadth, and slope very gently from the outer edge towards the 
wall, for the greater convenience of reclining. Cotton-stuffed pillows, 
covered with' chintz for summer, and silk for winter, are placed 
against the wall, and can be moved to make a luxurious heap ; their 
covers are generally all of the same colour, except those at the end. 
The seat of honour is denoted by a small square cotton-stuffed silk 
coverlet, placed in one of the corners, which the position of the 
windows determines, the place of distinction being on the left of the 
host. Thus in Egypt you have a neatly-furnished room for £5 or £6. 
1 The Madinah Shisha is a large cocoa-nut, with a tall wooden 
stem, both garnished with brass ornaments ; some trifling differences 
in the latter distinguish it from the Meccah pipe. Both are incon- 
veniently mounted upon small brass tripods, and are easily over- 
turned, scattering fire and water over the carpets. The "lay," or 
snakes, are the substantial manufacture of Al-Yaman. Some grandees 
at Al-Madinah have glass Turkish Shishas and Constantinople snakes, 
which are of admirable elegance, compared with the clumsy and 
unsightly Arab inventions. (See page 80, ante.) 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House. 297 

in, it was further reinforced by the arrival of his three 
younger brothers. 

Though the house was not grand, it was made lively 
by the varied views out of the Majlis' windows. From 
the East, you looked upon the square Al-Barr, the town 
walls and houses beyond it, the Egyptian gate, the lofty 
minarets of the Harim, and the distant outlines of Jabal 
Ohod. 1 The north commanded a prospect of Mohammed's 
Mosque, one of the Khamsah Masajid, 2 or the five sub- 
urban Mosques 3 ; of part of the fort-wall ; and, when the 
Damascus Caravan came in, of the gay scene of the 
" Prado " beneath. The Majlis was tolerably cool during 
the early part of the day : in the afternoon the sun shone 
fiercely upon it. I have described the establishment at 
some length as a specimen of how the middle classes are 
lodged at Al-Madinah. The upper ranks affect Turkish 
and Egyptian luxuries in their homes, as I had an oppor- 
tunity of seeing at Omar Effendi's house in the " Barr ; " 
and in these countries the abodes of the poor are every- 
where very similar. 

Our life in Shaykh Hamid's house was quiet, but not 
disagreeable. I never once set eyes upon the face of 
woman, unless the African slave girls be allowed the title. 
Even these at first attempted to draw their ragged veils 
over their sable charms, and would not answer the 
simplest question ; by degrees they allowed me to see 
them, and they ventured their voices to reply to me ; 
still they never threw off a certain appearance of shame. 4 

1 From this window I sketched the walls and the Egyptian 
gate of Al-Madinah. 

2 " Five mosques." 

3 This Mosque must not be confounded with the Harim. It is 
described in Chapter XV. , 

4 Their voices are strangely soft and delicate, considering the 
appearance of the organs from which they proceed. Possibly this 
may be a characteristic of the African races ; it is remarkable 
amongst the Somali women. 

298 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

I never saw, nor even heard, the youthful mistress of the 
household, who stayed all day in the upper rooms. The 
old lady, Hamid's mother, would stand upon the stairs, 
and converse aloud with her son, and, when few people 
were about the house, with me. She never, however, as 
afterwards happened to an ancient dame at Meccah, 
came and sat by my side. 

When lying during mid-day in the gallery, I often saw 
parties of women mount the stairs to the Gynaeconitis, 
and sometimes an individual would stand to shake a 
muffled hand 1 with Hamid, to gossip awhile, and to put 
some questions concerning absent friends ; but they 
were most decorously wrapped up, nor did they ever deign 
to derogev, even by exposing an inch of cheek. 

At dawn we arose, washed, prayed, and broke our 
fast 2 upon a crust of stale bread, before smoking a pipe, 
and drinking a cup of coffee. 3 Then it was time to dress, 
to mount, and to visit the Harim or one of the Holy 
Places outside the city. Returning before the sun became 
intolerable, we sat together, and with conversation, 
Shishas and Chibuks, 4 coffee, and cold water perfumed 
with mastich-smoke, 5 we whiled away the time till our 

1 After touching the skin of a strange woman, it is not lawful in 
Al-Islam to pray without ablution. For this reason, when a fair 
dame shakes hands with you, she wraps up her fingers in a kerchief, 
or in the end of her veil. 

2 Nafukku'r rik, literally, "Let us open the saliva," is most 
idiomatic Hijazi for the first morsel eaten in the morning. Hence it 
is called Fakkur' rik, also Gura and Tasbih : the Egyptians call it 
" Al-Fatur." 

3 Orientals invariably begin by eating an " akratisma " in the 
morning before they will smoke a pipe, or drink a cup of coffee ; they 
have also an insuperable prejudice against the internal use of cold 
water at this hour. 

4 The tobacco generally smoked here is Syrian, which is brought 
down in large quantities by the Damascus caravan. Latakia is more 
expensive, and generally too dry to retain its flavour. 

5 The interior of the water jar is here perfumed with the smoke 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House 299 

" Ariston," a dinner which appeared at the primitive hour 
of 11 a.m. The meal, here called Al-Ghada, was served 
in the Majlis on a large copper tray, sent from the upper 
apartments. Ejaculating "Bismillah" — the Moslem 
"grace" — we all sat round it, and dipped equal hands in 
the dishes set before us. We had usually unleavened 
bread, different kinds of meat and vegetable stews ; and, 
at the end of the first course, plain boiled rice eaten with 
spoons ; then came the fruits, fresh dates, grapes, and 

After dinner I used invariably to find some excuse — 
such as the habit of a " Kaylulah 1 " (mid-day siesta) or the 
being a "Saudawi 2 " — a person of melancholy tempera- 
ment — to have a rug spread in the dark passage behind 

of mastich, exactly as described by Lane, (Mod. Egyptians, vol. i. ch. 
5). I found at Al-Madinah the prejudice alluded to by Sonnini, 
namely, that the fumes of the gum are prejudicial, and sometimes 
fatal to invalids. 

1 Kaylulah is the half hour's siesta about noon. It is a Sunnat, 
and the Prophet said of it, " Kilu, fa inna 'sh' Shayat'ma la Takil," — 
"Take the mid-day siesta, for, verily, the demons sleep not at this 
hour." "Aylulah " is slumbering after morning prayers (our " beauty 
sleep"), which causes heaviness and inability to work. Ghaylulah is 
the sleeping about 9 a.m., the effect of which is poverty and wretched- 
ness, kaylulah (with the guttural kaf) is sleeping before evening 
prayers, a practice reprobated in every part of the East. And, finally, 
Faylulah is sleeping immediately after sunset, — also considered highly 

2 The Arabs, who suffer greatly from melancholia, are kind to 
people afflicted with this complaint ; it is supposed to cause a distaste 
for society, and a longing for solitude, an unsettled habit of mind, 
and a neglect of worldly affairs. Probably it is the effect of over- 
working the brain, in a hot dry atmosphere. I have remarked, that 
in Arabia students are subject to it, and that amongst their philoso- 
phers and literary men, there is scarcely an individual who was not 
spoken of as a " Saudawi." My friend Omar Effendi used to com- 
plain, that at times his temperament drove him out of the house, 

so much did he dislike the sound of the human voice, — to pass the 
day seated upon some eminence in the vicinity of the city. 

300 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the Majlis ; and there to lie reading, dozing, smoking, or 
writing, en cachetic, in complete deshabille, all through the 
worst part of the day, from noon to sunset. 

Then came the hour for receiving or paying visits. 
We still kept up an intimacy with Omar Effendi and 
Sa'ad the Demon, although Salih Skakkar and Aram 
Jamal, either disliking our society, or perhaps thinking 
our sphere of life too humble for their dignity, did not 
appear once in Hamid's house. The evening prayers 
ensued, either at home, or in the Harim, followed by our 
Asha or " deipnon," another substantial meal like the 
dinner, but more plentiful, of bread, meat, vegetables, 
plain rice and fruits, concluding w T ith the invariable pipes 
and coffee. 

To pass our soiree, we occasionally dressed in common 
clothes, shouldered a Nabbut, 1 and went to the cafe; some- 
times on festive occasions w r e indulged in a Taatumah (or 
Itmiyah), a late supper of sweetmeats, pomegranates, and 
dried fruits. Usually we sat upon mattresses spread 
upon the ground in the open air at the Shaykh's door ; 
receiving evening visits, chatting, telling stories, and 
making merry, till each, as he felt the approach of the 
drowsy god, sank down into his proper place, and fell 

Whatever may be the heat of the day, the night at 
Al-Madinah, owing, I suppose, to its elevated position, is 
cool and pleasant. In order to allay the dust, the ground 
before the Shaykh's door was watered every evening, and 
the evaporation was almost too great to be safe, — the boy 
Mohammed suffered from a smart attack of lumbago, 

i This habit of going out at night in common clothes, with a 
Nabbut upon one's shoulders, is, as far as I could discover, popular at 
Al-Madinah, but confined to the lowest classes at Meccah. The boy 
Mohammed always spoke of it with undisguised disapprobation. 
During my stay at Meccah, I saw no such costume amongst respect- 
able people there ; though oftentimes there was a suspicion of a 

XV. — Through the Suburb to HamicTs House. 301 

which, however, yielded readily to frictions of olive oil in 
which ginger had been boiled. 

Our greatest inconvenience at night-time was the 
pugnacity of the animal creation. The horses of the 
troopers tethered in the Barr were sure to break loose once 
in twelve hours. Some hobbled old nag, having slipped 
the headstall, would advance with kangaroo-leaps towards 
a neighbour against whom it had a private grudge. Their 
heads would touch for a moment ; then came a snort and 
a whinny, a furious kick, and, lastly, a second horse loose 
and dashing about with head and tail viciously cocked. 
This was the signal for a general breaking of halters and 
heel-ropes ; after which, a " stampede " scoured the plain, 
galloping, rearing, kicking, biting, snorting, pawing, and 
screaming, with the dogs barking sympathetically, and 
the horse-keepers shouting in hot pursuit. 

It was a strange sight to see by moonlight the forms 
of these "demon steeds" exaggerated by the shades ; 
and, on more than one occasion, we had all to start up 
precipitately from our beds, and yield them to a couple of 
combatants who were determined to fight out their quarrel 
a Voutvance, wherever the battle-field might be. 

The dogs at Al-Madinah are not less pugnacious 
than the horses. 1 They are stronger and braver than 
those that haunt the streets at Cairo ; like the Egyptians, 
they have amongst themselves a system of police regula- 
tions, which brings down all the posse comitatus upon the 
unhappy straggler who ventures into a strange quarter of 
the town. They certainly met in Al-Barr upon common 

1 Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. ii., p. 268) remarks that 
Al-Madinah is the only town in the East from which dogs are ex- 
cluded. This was probably as much a relic of Wahhabi-ism, (that 
sect hating even to look at a dog), as arising from apprehension of 
the Mosque being polluted by canine intrusion. I have seen one or 
two of these animals in the town, but I was told, that when they 
enter it in any numbers, the police-magistrate issues orders to have 
them ejected. 

302 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

ground, to decide the differences which must arise in so 
artificial a state of canine society. 

Having had many opportunities of watching them, I 
can positively assert that they were divided into two 
parties, which fought with a skill and an achamement that 
astounded me. Sometimes when one side gave way, and 
as the retreat was degenerating into a sauve qui pent, some 
proud warrior, a dog-hero, would sacrifice himself for the 
public weal, and with gnashing teeth and howls of rage 
encounter the assaults of the insolent victors until his 
flying friends had time to recover heart. Such an one my 
companions called "Mubariz. 1 " At other times, some 
huge animal, an Ajax of his kind, would plunge into 
the ring with frantic yells, roll over one dog, snap at a 
second, worry a third for a minute or two, and then dash 
off to a distant part, where a thicker field required his 
presence. This uncommon sagacity has been remarked 
by the Arabs, who look on amused at their battles. 
Current in Al-Hijaz are also certain superstitions about 
the dog resembling ours ; only, as usual, more poetical 
and less grotesque. Most people believe that when the 
animal howls without apparent cause in the neighbour- 
hood of a house, it forbodes death to one of the inmates ; 
for the dog they say can distinguish the awful form of 
Azrail, the Angel of Death, hovering over the doomed 
abode, whereas man's spiritual sight is dull and dim by 
reason of his sins. 

When the Damascus Caravan entered Al-Madinah, 
our day became a little more amusing. From the windows 
of Shaykh Hamid's house there was a perpetual succession 
of strange scenes. A Persian nobleman, also, had pitched 
his tents so near the door, that the whole course of his 
private life became public and patent to the boy Moham- 

i The "Mubariz" is the single combatant, the champion of the 
Arabian classical and chivalrous times. 

XV. — Through the Suburb to Hamid's House. 303 

med, who amused his companions by reporting all manner 
of ludicrous scenes. The Persian's wife was rather a 
pretty woman, and she excited the youth's fierce indigna- 
tion, by not veiling her face when he gazed at her, — 
thereby showing that, as his beard was not grown, she 
considered him a mere boy. 

" I will ask her to marry me," said Mohammed, " and 
thereby rouse her shame ! " 

He did so, but, unhappy youth ! the fair Persian never 
even ceased fanning herself. 

The boy Mohammed was for once confounded. 




Having performed the greater ablution, and used 
the toothstick as directed, and dressed ourselves in white 
clothes, which the Apostle loved, we were ready to start 
upon our holy errand. As my foot still gave me great 
pain, Shaykh Hamid sent for a donkey. A wretched 
animal appeared, raw-backed, lame of one leg, and want- 
ing an ear, with accoutrements to match, a pack-saddle 
without stirrups, and a halter instead of a bridle. Such 
as the brute was, however, I had to mount it, and to ride 
through the Misrigate, to the wonder of certain Badawin, 
who, like the Indians, despise the ass. 

" Honourable is the riding of a horse to the rider, 

But the mule is a dishonour, and the donkey a disgrace," 

says their song. The Turkish pilgrims, however, who 
appear to take a pride in ignoring all Arab points of pre- 
judice, generally mount donkeys when they cannot walk. 
The Badawin therefore settled among themselves, audibly 
enough, that I was an Osmanli, who of course could not 
understand Arabic, and they put the question generally, 

" By what curse of Allah had they been subjected 
to ass-riders ? " 

But Shaykh Hamid is lecturing me upon the subject 
of the Mosque. 

The Masjid Al-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, is 
one of the Haramayn, or the "two sanctuaries " of Al- 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 305 

Islam, and is the second of the three 1 most venerable 
places of worship in the world ; the other two being the 
Masjid al-Harim at Meccah (connected with Abraham) 
and the Masjid al-Aksa of Jerusalem (the peculiar place 
of Solomon). A Hadis or traditional saying of Moham- 
med asserts, " One prayer in this my Mosque is more 
efficacious than a thousand in other places, save only the 
Masjid al-Harim. 2 " It is therefore the visitor's duty, as 
long as he stays at Al-Madinah, to pray there the five times 
pev diem, to pass the day in it reading the Koran, and the 
night, if possible, in watching and devotion. 

A visit to the Masjid al-Nabawi, and the holy spots 
within it, is technically called " Ziyarat " or Visitation. 3 
An essential difference is made between this rite and 
Hajj or pilgrimage. The latter is obligatory by Koranic 
order upon every Moslem once in his life : the former is 
only a meritorious action. " Tawaf," or circumambula- 
tion of the House of Allah at Meccah, must never be 
performed at the Apostle's tomb. This should not be 
visited in the Ihram or pilgrim dress ; men should not 
kiss it, touch it with the hand, or press the bosom against 
it, as at the Ka'abah ; or rub the face with dust collected 
near the sepulchre ; and those who prostrate themselves 
before it, like certain ignorant Indians, are held to be 

1 Others add a fourth, namely, the Masjid al-Takwa, at Kuba. 

2 The Moslem divines, however, naively remind their readers, 
that they are not to pray once in the Al-Madinah Mosque, and 
neglect the other 999, as if absolved from the necessity of them. 
The passage in the text merely promises 1000 blessings upon that 
man's devotion who prays at the Prophet's Mosque. 

3 The visitor, who approaches the Sepulchre as a matter of re- 
ligious ceremony, is called "Zair," his conductor "Muzawwir," 
whereas the pilgrim at Meccah becomes a "Haji." The Imam 
Malik disapproved of a Moslem's saying, "I have visited the 
Prophef's tomb," preferring him to express himself thus — "I have 
visited the Prophet." Others again dislike the latter formula, de- 
claring the Prophet too venerable to be so visited by Amr and Zayd. 
VOL. 1. 20 

306 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

guilty of deadly sin. On the other hand, to spit upon any 
part of the Mosque, or to treat it with contempt, is held 
to be the act of an Infidel. 

Thus the learned and religious have settled, one 
would have thought, accurately enough the spiritual 
rank and dignity of the Masjid al-Nabawi. But man- 
kind, especially in the East, must always be in ex- 
tremes. The orthodox school of Al-Malik holds Al- 
Madinah, on account of the sanctity of, and the religious 
benefits to be derived from, Mohammed's tomb, more 
honourable than Meccah. Some declare that the 
Apostle preferred his place of refuge, blessing it as Abra- 
ham did Meccah. Moreover, as a tradition declares 
that every man's body is drawn from the ground in 
which he is buried, Al-Madinah evidently had the 
honour of supplying materials for the Apostle's person. 
Others, like Omar, were uncertain which to prefer. The 
Wahhabis, on the other hand, rejecting the Intercession 
of the Apostle on the Day of Judgment, considering the 
grave of a mere mortal unworthy of notice, and highly 
disgusted by the idolatrous respect paid to it by certain 
foolish Moslems, plundered the sacred building with 
sacrilegious violence, and forbade visitors from distant 
countries to enter Al-Madinah. 1 

The general consensus of Al-Islam admits the superi- 
ority of the Bayt Allah (" House of God ") at Meccah to 
the whole world ; and declares Al-Madinah to be more 
venerable than every part of Meccah, and consequently 
all the earth, except only the Bayt Allah. This last is a 
juste milieu view by no means in favour with the inhabi- 
tants of either place. In the meanwhile the Meccans 
claim unlimited superiority over the Madani : the Madani 
over the Meccans. 

i In a.d. 1807, they prevented Ali Bey (the Spaniard Badia) 
from entering Al-Madinah, and it appears that he had reason to con- 
gratulate himself upon escaping without severe punishment. 

20 2 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 307 

Passing through muddy streets, — they had been 
freshly watered before evening time, — I came suddenly 
upon the Mosque. Like that at Meccah, the approach is 
choked up by ignoble buildings, some actually touching 
the holy " enceinte," others separated by a lane compared 
with which the road round St. Paul's is a Vatican Square. 1 
There is no outer front, no general prospect of the Pro- 
phet's Mosque; consequently, as a building, it has neither 
beauty nor dignity. 

And entering the Bab al-Rahmah 2 — the Gate of Pity, 
— by a diminutive flight of steps, I was astonished at the 
mean and tawdry appearance of a place so universally 
venerated in the Moslem world. It is not, like the 
Meccan Temple, grand and simple, the expression of a 
single sublime idea : the longer I looked at it, the more 
it suggested the resemblance of a museum of second-rate 
art, an old Curiosity-shop, full of ornaments that are not 
accessories, and decorated with pauper splendour. 

The Masjid al-Nabi is a parallelogram about four 
hundred and twenty feet in length by three hundred and 
forty broad, the direction of the long walls being nearly 
north and south. As usual in Al-Islam, it is a hypae- 
thral building with a spacious central area, called Al- 
Sahn, Al-Hosh, Al-Haswah, or Al-Ramlah, 3 surrounded 
by a peristyle with numerous rows of pillars like the col- 
onnades of an Italian cloister. The arcades or porticoes 
are flat-ceilinged, domed above with the small Media 

1 Nothing in the Spanish cathedrals suggests their Oriental origin 
and the taste of the people, more than the way in which they are 
hedged in by secular buildings. 

2 The ceremony of Ziyarat, however, begins at the Bab al-Salam. 
We rode up to this gate only in order to avoid the sun. 

3 Haswah is a place covered with gravel : Ramlah, one which is 
sanded over. Both are equally applicable, and applied to the areas 
of Mosques. Al-Sahn is the general word; Al-Hosh is occasionally 
used, but is more properly applied to the court-yard of a dwelling- 

308 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Naranja, or half-orange cupola of Spain, and divided into 
four parts by narrow passages, three or four steps below 
the level of the pavement. Along the whole inner length 
of the Northern short wall runs the Majidi Riwak, so 
called from the then reigning Sultan. 1 The Western long 
wall is occupied by the Riwak of the Rahmah Gate ; the 
Eastern by that of the Bab al-Nisa, the " Women's 
Entrance. 2 " 

Embracing the inner length of the Southern short 
wall, and deeper by nearly treble the amount of columns 
than the other porticoes, is the main colonnade, called 
Al-Rauzah' 6 (the Garden), the adytum containing all that 
is venerable in the building. These four Riwaks, arched 
externally, are supported internally by pillars of different 
shape and material, varying from fine porphyry to dirty 
plaster. The Southern, where the sepulchre or cenotaph 
stands, is paved with handsome slabs of white marble and 
marquetry work, here and there covered with coarse 
matting, and above this by unclean carpets, well worn by 
faithful feet. 4 

But this is not the time for Tafavmj or lionising. 

i This Riwak was begun about five or six years ago by Abd 
al-Majid. To judge from the size of the columns, and the other pre- 
parations which encumber the ground, this part of the building will 
surpass all the rest But the people of Al-Madinah assured me that 
it will not be finished for some time, — a prophecy likely to be 
fulfilled by the present state of Turkish finance. 

2 This gate derives its peculiar name from its vicinity to the 
Lady Fatimah's tomb; women, when they do visit the Mosque, enter 
it through all the doors indifferently. 

3 It is so called by the figure synecdoche : it contains the Rauzah 
. or the Prophet's Garden, and therefore the whole portico enjoys 

that honoured name. 

4 These carpets are swept by the eunuchs, who let out the office 
for a certain fee to pilgrims, every morning, immediately after sun- 
rise. Their diligence, however, does by no means prevent the 
presence of certain little parasites, concerning which politeness is 

PLAN I 'i I ill ll \kl\l, OB THE PR< >PH1 T > to 



I'nfinisfmd HypcMjU 

J o o 

VfVH »(««».»«. 


-Rau/ah is about So feet long, 
(cm wall 20 feet, 
thcrn wall 35 or 36 feet. 


I Bab s. 
K Bab Rahman (of Pity), 

• A. ill. 

h wall. 

3 Mitir , Niche of Sultan 

4 Tin- Propbi 1'* pulpit. 

5 The Prophets niche. 

7 Al-Hujr.ih, tin- ohamb* r in which the 
\n irreg- 
ular iqaara of jo of j> 

.r cling the tombs, 
g The doaf in the grating called Bab al- 

10 The Bab al-Taubah (of Repentance). 

11 The Bab al-Shami (Sjl 

12 The Gate of our Lady Fatimah. 

13 The Prophet's Tomb. 

14 Abu Bakr's Tomb. 

15 Omar's Tomb. 

ir vain. 

17 The M of our 

18 The Shubak al-Naby (Prophet's window). 

19 Abu Bakr's window. 

21 The M.ihb.njibrail.or place where Gabriel 
used to descend, vulgarly called Gabriel's 

I»"i Tomb, supposed to be in her 

23 The Dakkat al-Aghawah, a low enclosure 

24 The place where the Koran is constantly 

The dolltd lines denote the riitior't count : 
the larger fointi denote the itattons of 

25 The V\ 

1 illar of the Fugit 

nee, or of Abu 


29 The Mat f » »«one 

: .1 dligh, (who is to the interior of 

■ s a day 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 309 

Shaykh Hamid warns me, with a nudge, that other things 
are expected of a Zair (visitor). He leads me to the Bab 
al-Salam, fighting his way through a troop of beggars, 
and inquires markedly if I am religiously pure. 1 Then, 
placing our hands a little below and on the left of the 
waist, the palm of the right covering the back of the left, 
in the position of prayer, and beginning with the dexter 
feet, 2 we pace slowly forwards down the line called the 
Muwajihat al-Sharifah, or "the Illustrous Fronting," 
which, divided off like an aisle, runs parallel with the 
Southern wall of the Mosque. On my right hand walks 
the Shaykh, who recites aloud the following prayer, 
making me repeat it after him. 3 It is literally rendered, 
as, indeed, are all the formulae, and the reader is requested 
to excuse the barbarous fidelity of the translation. 

" In the Name of Allah and in the faith of Allah's 
Apostle ! O Lord, cause me to enter the Entering of 
Truth, and cause me to issue forth the Issuing of Truth, 
and permit me to draw near to Thee, and make me a 
Sultan Victorious 4 ! " Then follow blessings upon the 
Apostle, and afterwards: "O Allah! open to me the 
Doors of Thy Mercy, and grant me Entrance into it, and 
protect me from the Stoned Devil ! " 

During this preliminary prayer we had passed down 
two-thirds of the Muwajihat ai-Sharifah. On the left 
hand is a dwarf wall, about the height of a man, painted 
with arabesques, and pierced with four small doors which 

1 Because if not pure, ablution is performed at the well in the 
centre of the hypasthra. Zairs are ordered to visit the Mosque per- 
fumed, and in their best clothes, and the Hanafi school deems it 
lawful on this occasion only to wear dresses of pure silk. 

2 In this Mosque, as in all others, it is proper to enter with the 
right foot, and to retire with the left. 

3 I must warn the reader that almost every Muzawwir has his 
own litany, which descends from father to son : moreover, all the 
books differ at least as much as do the oral authorities. 

4 That is to say, "over the world, the flesh, and the devil." 

310 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meceah. 

open into the Muwajihat. In this barrier are sundry 
small erections, the niche called the Mihrab Sulaymani, 1 
the Mambar, or pulpit, and the Mihrab al-Nabawi.' 2 

The two niches are of beautiful mosaic, richly worked 
with various coloured marbles, and the pulpit is a graceful 
collection of slender columns, elegant tracery, and inscrip- 
tions admirably carved. Arrived at the Western small 
door in the dwarf wall, we entered the celebrated spot 
called Al-Rauzah, after a saying of the Apostle's, 
''Between my Tomb and my Pulpit is a Garden of the 
Gardens of Paradise. 3 " On the North and West sides it is 

i This by strangers is called the Masalla Shafe'i, or the Place of 
Prayer of the Shafe'i school. It was sent from Constantinople about 
ioo years ago, by Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. He built the 
Sulaymaniyah minaret, and has immortalised his name at Al- 
Madinah, as well as at Meceah, by the number of his donations to 
the shrine. 

2 Here is supposed to have been one of the Prophet's favourite 
stations of prayer. It is commonly called the Musalla Hanafi, 
because now appropriated by that school. 

3 This tradition, like most others referring to events posterior to 
the Prophet's death, is differently given, and so important are the 
variations, that I only admire how all Al-Islam does not follow 
Wahhabi example, and summarily consign them to oblivion. Some 
read "Between my dwelling-house (in the Mosque) and my place of 
Prayer (in the Barr al-Manakhah) is a Garden of the Gardens of 
Paradise." Others again, " Between my house and my pulpit is a 
Garden of the Gardens of Paradise." A third tradition — "Between 
my tomb and my pulpit is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise, 
and verily my pulpit is in my Full Cistern," or "upon a Full 
Cistern of the Cisterns of Paradise," has given rise to a new super- 
stition. "Tara," according to some commentators, alludes especially 
to the cistern Al-Kausar ; consequently this Rauzah is, like the black 
stone at Meceah, bond fide, a bit of Paradise, and on the day of resur- 
rection, it shall return bodily to the place whence it came. Be this 
as it may, all Moslems are warned that the Rauzah is a most holy 
spot. None but the Prophet and his son-in-law AH ever entered 
it, when ceremonially impure, without being guilty of deadly sin. 
The Mohammedan of the present day is especially informed that on 
no account must he here tell lies, or even perjure himself. Thus 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 311 

not divided from the rest of the portico ; on the South 
runs the dwarf wall, and on the East it is limited by the 
west end of the lattice-work containing the tomb. 

Accompanied by my Muzawwir I entered the Rauzah, 
and was placed by him with the Mukabbariyah 1 behind 
me, fronting Meccah, with my right shoulder opposite to, 
and about twenty feet distant from, the dexter pillar of 
the Apostle's Pulpit.' 2 There, after saying the afternoon 
prayers, 3 I performed the usual two bows in honour of the 
temple, 4 and at the end of them recited the hundred and 
ninth and the hundred and twelfth chapters of the Koran — 
the "Kul, ya ayyuha'l-Kafiruna," and the "Surat al- 
Ikhlas," called also the "Kul, Huw' Allah," or the 
Declaration of Unity ; and may be thus translated : 

"Say, He is the one God! 

"The eternal God! 

" He begets not, nor is He begot ! 

the Rauzah must be respected as much as the interior of the Bayt 
Allah at Meccah. 

1 This is a stone desk on four pillars, where the Muballighs (or 
clerks) recite the Ik amah, the call to divine service. It was presented 
to the Mosque by Kaid-Bey, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. 

2 I shall have something to say about this pulpit when entering 
into the history of the Harim. 

3 The afternoon prayers being Favz, or obligatory, were recited, 
because we feared that evening might come on before the ceremony 
of Ziyarat (visitation) concluded, and thus the time for Al-Asr (after- 
noon prayers) might pass away. The reader may think this rather 
a curious forethought in a man who, like Hamid, never prayed except 
when he found the case urgent. Such, however, is the strict order, 
and my Muzawwir was right to see it executed. 

4 This two-bow prayer, which generally is recited in honour 
of the Mosque, is here, say divines, addressed especially to the 
Deity by the visitor who intends to beg the intercession of his 
Prophet. It is only just to confess that the Moslems have done 
their best by all means in human power, here as well as elsewhere, to 
inculcate the doctrine of eternal distinction between the creature 
and the Creator. Many of the Maliki school, however, make the 
ceremony of Ziyarat to precede the prayer to the Deity. 

312 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mcccah. 

"And unto Him the like is not." 

After which was performed a single Sujdah (Prostra- 
tion) of Thanks, 1 in gratitude to Allah for making it my 
fate to visit so holy a spot. 

This being the recognised time to give alms, I was 
besieged by beggars, who spread their napkins before us 
on the ground, sprinkled with a few coppers to excite 
generosity. But not wishing to be distracted by them, 
before leaving Hamid's house I had changed two dollars, 
and had given the coin to the boy Mohammed, who 
accompanied me, strictly charging him to make that sum 
last through the Mosque. 

My answer to the beggars was a reference to my 
attendant, backed by the simple action of turning my 
pockets inside out ; and, whilst he was battling with the 
beggars, I proceeded to cast my first conp-d'ceil upon the 

The " Garden " is the most elaborate part of the 
Mosque. Little can be said in its praise by day, when it 
bears the same relation to a second-rate church in Rome 
as an English chapel-of-ease to Westminster Abbey. It 
is a space of about eighty feet in length, tawdrily decorated 
so as to resemble a garden. The carpets are flowered, 
and the pediments of the columns are cased with bright 
green tiles, and adorned to the height of a man with gaudy 
and unnatural vegetation in arabesque. It is disfigured 
by handsome branched candelabras of cut crystal, the 
work, I believe, of a London house, and presented to the 
shrine by the late Abbas Pasha of Egypt. 2 

The only admirable feature of the view is the light 

i The Sujdah is a single "prostration" with the forehead touch- 
ing the ground. It is performed from a sitting position, after the 
Dua or supplication that concludes the two-bow prayer. Some 
of the Olema, especially those of the Shafe'i school, permit this 
"Sujdah of thanks" to be performed before the two-bow prayer 
if the visitor have any notable reason to be grateful. 

2 The candles are still sent from Cairo. 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 313 

cast by the windows of stained glass 1 in the Southern wall. 
Its peculiar background, the railing of the tomb, a splendid 
filigree-work of green and polished brass, gilt or made to 
resemble gold, looks more picturesque near than at a dis- 
tance, when it suggests the idea of a gigantic bird-cage. 
But at night the eye, dazzled by oil-lamps' 2 suspended from 
the roof,*by huge wax candles, and by smaller illumina- 
tions falling upon crowds of visitors in handsome attire, 
with the richest and the noblest of the city sitting in con- 
gregation when service is performed, 3 becomes less critical. 
Still the scene must be viewed with Moslem bias, and 
until a man is thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the 
East, the last place the Rauzah will remind him of, is that 
which the architect primarily intended it to resemble — a 

Then with Hamid, professionally solemn, I reassumed 
the position of prayer, and retraced my steps. After 
passing through another small door in the dwarf wall that 
bounds the Muwajihah, we did not turn to the right, which 
would have led us to the Bab al-Salam ; our course was in 
an opposite direction, towards the Eastern wall of the 
temple. Meanwhile we repeated, " Verily Allah and His 
Angels 4 bless the Apostle ! O ye who believe, bless him, 

1 These windows are a present from Kaid-Bey, the Mamluk 
Sultan of Egypt. 

2 These oil lamps are a present from the Sultan. 

3 The five daily liturgies are here recited by Imams, and every 
one presses to the spot on account of its peculiar sanctity. 

4 In Moslem theology "Salat" from Allah means mercy, from 
the angels intercession for pardon, and from mankind blessing. The 
act of blessing the Prophet is one of peculiar efficacy in a religious 
point of view. Cases are quoted of sinners being actually snatched 
from hell by a glorious figure, the personification of the blessings 
which had been called down by them upon Mohammed's head. This 
most poetical idea is borrowed, I believe, from the ancient Guebres, 
who fabled that a man's good works assumed a beautiful female 
shape, which stood to meet his soul when winding its way to judg- 
ment. Also when a Moslem blesses Mohammed at Al-Madinah, his 

314 Pilgy image to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

and salute Him with Honour ! " At the end of this prayer, 
we arrived at the Mausoleum, which requires some descrip- 
tion before the reader can understand the nature of our 
proceedings there. 

The Hujrah 1 or " Chamber " as it is called, from the 
circumstance of its having been Ayishah's room, is an 
irregular square of from fifty to fifty-five feet in the South- 
East corner of the building, and separated on all sides 
from the walls of the Mosque by a passage about twenty- 
six feet broad on the South side, and twenty on the East. 
The reason of this isolation has been before explained, 
and there is a saying of Mohammed's, " O Allah, cause 
not my Tomb to become an Object of Idolatrous Adora- 
tion ! May Allah's Wrath fall heavy upon the People 
who make the Tombs of their Prophets Places of 
Prayer 2 ! " 

sins are not written down for three days, — thus allowing ample 
margin for repentance, — by the recording angel. Al-Malakayn (the 
two Angels), or Kiram al-Katibin (the Generous Writers), are mere 
personifications of the good principle and the evil principle of man's 
nature ; they are fabled to occupy each a shoulder, and to keep a 
list of words and deeds. This is certainly borrowed from a more 
ancient faith. In Hermas II. (command. 6), we are told that 
"every man has two angels, one of godliness, the other of iniquity," 
who endeavour to secure his allegiance, — a superstition seemingly 
founded upon the dualism of the old Persians. Mediaeval Europe, 
which borrowed so much from the East at the time of the Crusades, 
degraded these angels into good and bad fairies for children's stories. 

1 Burckhardt writes this word Hedjra (which means "flight"). 
Nor is M. Caussin de Perceval's "El Hadjarat" less erroneous. At 
Madinah it is invariably called Al-Hujrah — the chamber. The chief 
difficulty in distinguishing the two words, meaning "chamber" and 
"flight," arises from our only having one A to represent the hard 
and soft h of Arabic, «,*=*• and tj**. In the case of common saints, the 
screen or railing round the cenotaph is called a"Maksurah." 

2 Yet Mohammed enjoined his followers to frequent graveyards. 
"Visit graves; of a verity they shall make you think of futurity!" 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 315 

Inside there are, or are supposed to be, three tombs 
facing the South, surrounded by stone walls without any 
aperture, or, as others say, by strong planking. 1 What- 
ever this material may be, it is hung outside with a cur- 
tain, somewhat like a large four-post bed. The external 
railing is separated by a dark narrow passage from the 
inner, which it surrounds ; and is of iron filigree painted 
of a vivid grass green, — with a view to the garden. Here 
carefully inserted in the verdure, and doubly bright by 
contrast, is the gilt or burnished brass work forming the 
long and graceful letters of the Suls character, and dis- 
posed into the Moslem creed, the Profession of Unity, and 
similar religious sentences. 

On the South side, for greater honour, the railing is 
plated over with silver, and silver letters are interlaced 
with it. This fence, which connects the columns and 
forbids passage to all men, may be compared to the 
baldacchino of Roman churches. It has four gates : that 
to the South is the Bab al-Muwajihah ; Eastward is the 
gate of our Lady Fatimah ; westward the Bab al-Taubah 
(of Repentance), opening into the Rauzah or garden ; 
and to the North, the Bab al-Shami or Syrian gate. They 
are constantly kept closed, except the fourth, which 
admits, into the dark narrow passage above alluded to, 
the officers who have charge of the treasures there 
deposited ; and the eunuchs who sweep the floor, light 

And again, "Whoso visiteth his two parents' grave, or one of the two, 
every Friday, he shall be written a pious child, even though he might 
have been in the world, before that, a disobedient." 

1 The truth is no one knows what is there. I have even heard a 
learned Persian declare that there is no wall behind the curtain, 
which hangs so loosely that, when the wind blows against it, it 
defines the form of a block of marble, or a built-up tomb. I believe 
this to be wholly apocryphal, for reasons which will presently be 

316 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the lamps, and carry away the presents sometimes thrown 
in here by devotees. 1 

In the Southern side of the fence are three windows, 
holes about half a foot square, and placed from four to 
five feet above the ground ; they are said to be between 
three and four cubits distant from the Apostle's head. 
The most Westerly of these is supposed to front Moham- 
med's tomb, wherefore it is called the Shubak al-Nabi, or 
the Prophet's window. The next, on the right as you 
front it, is Abu Bakr's, and the most Easterly of the three 
is Omar's. 

Above the Hujrah is the Green Dome, surmounted 
outside by a large gilt crescent springing from a series of 
globes. The glowing imaginations of the Moslems crown 
this gem of the building with a pillar of heavenly light, 
which directs from three days' distance the pilgrims' steps 
towards Al-Madinah. But alas ! none save holy men 
(and perhaps, odylic sensitives), whose material organs 
are piercing as their spiritual vision, may be allowed the 
privilege of beholding this poetic splendour. 

Arrived at the Shubak al-Nabi, Hamid took his stand 
about six feet or so out of reach of the railing, and at that 
respectful distance from, and facing 2 the Hazirah (or pre- 

i The peculiar place where the guardians of the tomb sit and 
confabulate is the Dakkat al-Aghawat (eunuch's bench) or Al-Mayda 
— the table — a raised bench of stone and wood, on the North side of 
the Hujrah. The remaining part of this side is partitioned off from 
the body of the Mosque by a dwarf wall, inclosing the "Khasafat al- 
Sultan," the place where Fakihs are perpetually engaged in Khitmalis, 
or perusals of the Koran, on behalf of the reigning Sultan. 

2 The ancient practice of Al-Islam during the recitation of the 
following benedictions was to face Meccah, the back being turned 
towards the tomb, and to form a mental image of the Prophet, sup- 
posing him to be in front. Al-Kirmani and other doctors prefer this 
as the more venerable custom, but in these days it is completely ex- 
ploded, and the purist would probably be soundly bastinadoed by 
the eunuchs for attempting it. 

XVI.—- A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 



k l 


d ki 


Abu Bakr. 

Fatimah's Tomb. 
The dotted space left 
empty for Isa. 

sence), with hands raised as in prayer, he recited the 
following supplication in a low voice, 
telling me in a stage whisper to repeat 
it after him with awe, and fear, and 
love : — 

" Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle 
of Allah, and the Mercy of Allah and 
his Blessings ! Peace be upon Thee, 
O Apostle of Allah ! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Friend of Allah ! Peace be 
upon Thee, O best of Allah's Creation ! 
Peace be upon Thee, O pure Creature 
of Allah ! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Chief of Prophets ! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Seal of the Prophets ! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Prince of the Pious ! Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of 
the Lord of the (three) Worlds ! Peace be upon Thee, 
and upon Thy Family, and upon Thy pure Wives ! 
Peace be upon Thee, and upon all Thy Companions ! 
Peace be upon Thee, and upon all the Prophets, and upon 
those sent to preach Allah's Word ! Peace be upon Thee, 
and upon all Allah's righteous Worshippers ! Peace be 
upon Thee, O thou Bringer of Glad Tidings ! Peace be 
upon Thee, O Bearer of Threats ! Peace be upon Thee, 
O thou bright Lamp ! Peace be upon Thee, O thou 
Apostle of Mercy ! Peace be upon Thee, O Ruler of Thy 
Faith ! Peace be upon Thee, O Opener of Grief ! Peace 
be upon Thee ! and Allah bless Thee ! and Allah repay 
Thee for us, O Thou Apostle of Allah ! the choicest of 
Blessings with which He ever blessed Prophet ! Allah 
bless Thee as often as Mentioners have mentioned Thee, 
and Forgetters have forgotten Thee ! And Allah bless 
Thee among the First and the Last, with the best, the 
highest, and the fullest of Blessings ever bestowed on Man ; 
even as we escaped Error by means of Thee, and were made 
to see after Blindness, and after Ignorance were directed 

318 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

into the Right Way. I bear Witness that there is no god 
but the God (Allah), and I testify that Thou art His Ser- 
vant, and His Apostle, and His Faithful Follower, and 
Best Creature. And I bear Witness, O Apostle of Allah ! 
that Thou hast delivered thy Message, and discharged 
Thy Trust, and advised Thy Faith, and opened Grief, and 
published Proofs, and fought valiantly for Thy Lord, and 
worshipped Thy God till Certainty came to Thee (i.e. to 
the hour of death). And we Thy Friends, O Apostle of 
Allah ! appear before Thee, Travellers from distant lands 
and far Countries, through Dangers and Difficulties, in the 
Times of Darkness, and in the Hours of Day, longing to 
give Thee Thy Rights (i.e. to honour Thee by benediction 
and visitation), and to obtain the Blessings of Thine Inter- 
cession, for our Sins have broken our Backs, and Thou 
intercedest with the Healer. And Allah said, 1 ' And 
though they have injured themselves, they came to Thee, 
and begged Thee to secure their Pardon, and they found 
God an Acceptor of Penitence, and full of Compassion.' 
O Apostle of Allah, Intercession ! Intercession ! Interces- 
sion 2 ! O Allah, bless Mohammed and Mohammed's 
Family, and give Him Superiority and high Rank, even 
as Thou didst promise Him, and graciously allow us to 
conclude this Visitation. I deposit on this spot, and near 
Thee, O Apostle of God, my everlasting Profession (of 
faith) from this our Day, to the Day of Judgment, that 
there is no god but Allah, and that our Lord Mohammed 
is His Servant and His Apostle. 8 Amen ! O Lord of 
the (three) Worlds ! 4 " 

i This is the usual introduction to a quotation from the Koran. 

2 It may easily be conceived how offensive this must be to the 
Wahhabis, who consider it blasphemy to assert that a mere man can 
stand between the Creator and the creature on the last day. 

3 This is called the Testification. Like the Fatihah, it is re- 
peated at every holy place and tomb visited at Al-Madinah. 

4 Burckhardt mentions that in his day, among other favours 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 319 

After which, performing Ziyarat 1 for ourselves, we 
repeated the Fatihahor " opening" chapter of the Koran. 

" In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compas- 
sionate ! 

" Praise be to Allah, who the (three) Worlds made. 

" The Merciful, the Compassionate. 

" The King of the Day of Faith. 

" Thee (alone) do we worship, and of Thee (alone) do 
we ask Aid. 

" Guide us to the Path that is straight — 

"The Path of those for whom thy Love is great, 
not those on whom is Hate, nor they that deviate. 

" Amen ! O Lord of Angels, Jinnis, and Men ! 2 " 

After reciting this mentally with upraised hands, 
the forefinger of the right hand bsing extended to its full 
length, we drew our palms down our faces and did alms- 
deeds, a vital part of the ceremony. Thus concludes the 
first part of the ceremony of visitation at the Apostle's 

supplicated in prayer to the Deity, the following request was made, — 
"Destroy our enemies, and may the torments of hell-fire be their lot ! " 
I never heard it at the Prophet's tomb. As the above benediction is 
rather a long one, the Zair is allowed to shorten it a discretion, but 
on no account to say less than "Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of 
Allah" — this being the gist of the ceremony. 

1 Though performing Ziyarat for, myself, I had promised my old 
Shaykh at Cairo to recite a Fatihah in his name at the Prophet's 
tomb; so a double recitation fell to my lot. If acting Zair for 
another person (a common custom, we read, even in the days of Al- 
Walid, the Caliph of Damascus), you are bound to mention your 
principal's name at the beginning of the benediction, thus: "Peace 
be upon Thee, O Apostle of Allah from such an one, the son of such an 
one, who wants Thine Intercession, and begs for Pardon and Mercy." 
Most Zairs recite Fatihahs for all their friends and relations at the 

2 I have endeavoured in this translation to imitate the imperfect 
rhyme of the original Arabic. Such an attempt, however, is full of 
difficulties : the Arabic is a language in which, like Italian, it is 
almost impossible not to rhyme. 

32 o Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Hamid then stepped about a foot and half to the 
right, and I followed his example, so as to place myself 
exactly opposite the second aperture in the grating called 
Abu Bakr's window. There, making a sign towards the 
mausoleum, we addressed its inmate, as follows : — 

" Peace be upon Thee, O Abu Bakr, O Thou Truth- 
ful One ! Peace be upon Thee, O Caliph of Allah's 
Apostle over his People ! Peace be upon Thee, O Com- 
panion of the Cave, and Friend in Travel ! Peace be 
upon Thee, O Thou Banner of the Fugitives and the 
Auxiliaries ! I testify Thou didst ever stand firm in the 
right Way, and wast a Smiter of the Infidel, and a Bene- 
factor to Thine own people. Allah grant Thee through 
His Apostle Weal ! We pray Almighty God to cause us 
to die in Thy Friendship, and to raise us up in Company 
with His Apostle and Thyself, even as He hath merci- 
fully vouchsafed to us this Visitation. 1 " 

After which we closed one more step to the right, 
and standing opposite Omar's window, the most easterly 
of the three, after making a sign with our hands, we ad- 
dressed the just Caliph in these words : — 

" Peace be upon Thee, O Omar ! O Thou Just One ! 
Thou Prince of True Believers ! Peace be upon Thee, 
who spakest with Truth, and who madest Thy Word 
agree with the Strong Book ! (the Koran) : O Thou Faruk ! 
(the Separator). 2 O Thou Faithful One ! who girdedst thy 
Loins with the Apostle, and the First Believers, and with 
them didst make up the full Number forty, 3 and thus 
causedst to be accomplished the Apostle's Prayer, 4 and 

i It will not be necessary to inform the reader more than once 
that all these several divisions of prayer ended with the Testification 
and the Fatihah. 

2 Faruk, — the separator, — a title of Omar. 

3 When the number of the Ashab or " Companions" was thirty- 
nine, they were suddenly joined by Omar, who thus became the 

4 It is said that Mohammed prayed long for the conversion of 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 321 

then didst return to Thy God a Martyr leaving the World 
with Praise ! Allah grant Thee, through his Apostle 
and his Caliph and his Followers, the best of Good, and 
may Allah feel in Thee plenary Satisfaction !" 

Shaykh Hamid, after wrenching a beggar or two 
from my shoulders, then permitted me to draw near to 
the little window, called the Apostle's, and to look in. 
Here my proceedings were watched with suspicious 
eyes. The Persians have sometimes managed to pollute the 
part near AbuBakr's and Omar's graves by tossing through 
the aperture what is externally a handsome shawl in- 
tended as a present for the tomb. 1 After straining my 
eyes for a time, I saw a curtain, 2 or rather hangings, with 

Omar to Al-Islam, knowing his sterling qualities, and the aid he 
would lend to the establishment of the faith. 

1 This foolish fanaticism has lost many an innocent life, for the 
Arabs on these occasions seize their sabres, and cut down every Per- 
sian they meet. Still, bigoted Shi'ahs persist in practising and applaud- 
ing it, and the man who can boast at Shiraz of having defiled 
Abu Bakr's, Omar's, or Osman's tomb becomes at once a lion and a 
hero. I suspect that on some occasions when the people of Al- 
Madinah are anxious for an " avanie," they get up some charge of 
the kind against the Persians. So the Meccans have sometimes 
found these people guilty of defiling the house of Allah — at which In- 
fidel act a Shi'ah would shudder as much as a Sunni. This style of 
sacrilege is, we read, of ancient date in Arabia. Nafil, the Hijazi, 
polluted the Kilis (Christian church) erected by Abrahah of Sanaa to 
outshine the Ka'abah, and draw off worshippers from Meccah. The 
outrage caused the celebrated " affair of the Elephant." (See 
D'Herbelot, Bibl. Or., v. "Abrahah.") 

2 Burckhardt, with his usual accuracy, asserts that a new curtain 
is sent when the old one is decayed, or when a new Sultan ascends 
the throne, and those authors err who, like Maundrell, declare the 
curtain to be removed every year. The Damascus Caravan conveys, 
together with its Mahmil or emblem of royalty, the new Kiswah (or 
' ' garment ") when required for the tomb. It is put on by the eunuchs, 
who enter the baldaquin by its Northern gate at night time, and there 
is a superstitious story amongst the people that they guard their eyes 
with veils against the supernatural splendours which pour from the 
VOL. I. 21 

322 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

three inscriptions in long gold letters, informing readers 
that behind them lie Allah's Apostle and the first two 

The exact place of Mohammed's tomb is moreover 
distinguished by a large pearl rosary, and a peculiar orna- 
ment, the celebrated Kaukab-al-Durri, or constellation of 
pearls, suspended to the curtain breast-high. 1 This is 
described to be a "brilliant star set in diamonds and 
pearls," placed in the dark that man's eye may be able 
to bear its splendours : the vulgar believe it to be a /'jewel 
of the jewels of Paradise." To me it greatly resembled 
the round glass stoppers used for the humbler sort of 
decanters ; but I thought the same of the Koh-i-Nur. 
Moreover I never saw it quite near enough to judge fairly, 
and I did not think fit to pay an exorbitant sum for the 
privilege of entering the inner passage of the baldaquin. 2 

tomb. The Kiswah is a black, purple, or green brocade, embroi 
dered with white or with silver letters. A piece in my possession, 
the gift of Omar Effendi, is a handsome silk and cotton Damascus 
brocade, with white letters worked in it — manifestly the produce of 
manual labour, not the poor dull work of machinery. It contains the 
formula of the Moslem faith in the cursive style of the Suls char- 
acter, seventy-two varieties of which are enumerated by calligraphists. 
Nothing can be more elegant or appropriate than its appearance. 
The old curtain is usually distributed amongst the officers of the 
Mosque, and sold in bits to pilgrims ; in some distant Moslem coun- 
tries, the possessor of such a relic would be considered a saint. When 
treating of the history of the Mosque, some remarks will be offered 
about the origin of the curtain. 

i The place of the Prophet's head is, I was told, marked by a fine 
Koran hung up to the curtain This volume is probably a successor 
to the relic formerly kept theie, the Cufic Koran belonging to Osman, 
the fourth Caliph, which Burckhardt supposes to have perished in 
the conflagration which destroyed the Mosque. 

2 The eunuchs of the tomb have the privilege of admitting 
strangers. In this passage are preserved the treasures of the place ; 
they area "Bayt Malal-Muslimin," or public treasury of the Moslems; 
therefore to be employed by the Caliph (i.e. the reigning Sultan) for 
the exigencies of the faith. The amount is said to be enormous, 
which I doubt. 

21 2 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 323 

Altogether the coup -d' ceil had nothing to recommend it by 
day. At night, when the lamps, hung in this passage, 
shed a dim light upon the mosaic-work of the marble 
floors, upon the glittering inscriptions, and the massive 
hangings, the scene is more impressive. 

Never having seen the Tomb, 1 I must depict it from 
books, — by no means an easy task. Most of the historians 
are silent after describing the inner walls of the Hujrah. 
Al-Kalkashandi declares in eo lapidem nobilem continere 
sepulchm Apostoli, Abubecr et Omar, circumcinctum peribole in 
modum conclavis fere usque ad tectum assurgente, quce velo serico 
nigvo obligatur. This author, then, agrees with my Persian 
friends, who declare the sepulchre to be a marble slab. 
Ibn Jubayr, who travelled in a.h. 580, relates that the 
Apostle's coffin is a box of ebony (abnus) covered with 
sandal-wood, and plated with silver ; it is placed, he says, 
behind a curtain, and surrounded by an iron grating. 
Al-Samanhudi, 1 quoted by Burckhardt, declares that the 
curtain covers a square building of black stones, in the 
interior of which are the tombs of Mohammed and of his 
two immediate successors. He adds that the tombs are 

1 And I might add, never having seen one who has seen it. Nie- 
buhr is utterly incorrect in his hearsay description of it. It is not 
*' enclosed within iron railings for fear«lest the people might surreptit- 
iously offer worship to the ashes of the Prophet." The tomb is not 
''of plain mason-work in the form of a chest," nor does any one be- 
lieve that it is " placed within or between two other tombs, in which 
rest the ashes of the first two Caliphs." The traveller appears to 
have lent a credulous ear to the eminent Arab merchant, who told 
him that a guard was placed over the tomb to prevent the populace 
scraping dirt from about it, and preserving it as a relic. 

2 Burckhardt writes this author's name El Samhoudy, and in 
this he is followed by all our popular book-makers. Moslems have 
three ways of spelling it : 1. Al-Samhudi, 2. Al-Samahnudi, and 3. 
Al-Samanhudi. I prefer the latter, believing that the learned Shaykh, 
Nur al-Din Ali bin Abdullah al-Hasini (or Al-Husayni) was origin- 
ally from Samanhud in Egypt, the ancient Sebennitis. He died in 
a.h. 911, and was buried in the Bakia cemetery. 


d » -* 

c| » F 



324 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

deep holes ; and that the coffin which contains the Apostle 
is cased with silver, and has on the top a marble slab 
inscribed "Bismillah! Allahumma salli alayh!" ("In the 
name of Allah! Allah have Mercy upon Him 1 !") 

The Apostle's body, it should be remembered, lies, 
or is supposed to lie, stretched at full length on the right 
side, with the right palm supporting the right cheek, the 
face fronting Meccah, as Moslems are always buried, and 
consequently the body lies with the head almost due West 
and the feet due East. Close behind him is placed 
Abu Bakr, whose face fronts the Apostle's shoulder 2 ; and, 
lastly, Omar holds the same position with respect to his 


The places they are usually supposed 

to occupy, then, would be thus disposed. 

But Moslem historians are not agreed 

even upon so simple a point as this. 

1 Burckhardt, however, must be in error when he says "The 
tombs are also covered with precious stuffs, and in the shape of cata- 
falques, like that of Ibrahim in the great Mosque of Meccah." The 
eunuchs positively declare that no one ever approaches the tomb, and 
that he who ventured to do so would at once be blinded by the super- 
natural light. Moreover the historians of Al-Madinah all quote tales 
of certain visions of the Apostle, directing his tomb to be cleared of 
dust that had fallen upon it from above, in which case some man cele- 
brated for piety and purity was let through a hole in the roof, by cords, 
down to the tomb, with directions to wipe it with his beard. This 
style of ingress is explained by another assertion of Al-Samanhudi, 
quoted by Burckhardt. "In a.h. 892, when Kaid-Bey rebuilt the 
Mosque, which had been destroyed by lightning, three deep graves 
were found in the inside, full of rubbish, but the author of this his- 
tory, who himself entered it, saw no traces of tombs. The original 
place of Mohammed's tomb was ascertained with great difficulty ; the 
walls of the Hujrah wen then rebuilt, and the iron railing placed round 
it, which is now there." 

2 Upon this point authors greatly disagree. Ibn Jubayr, for in- 
stance, says that Abu Bakr's head is opposite the Apostle's feet, and 
that Omar's face is oh a level with Abu Bakr's shoulder. 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 325 

Many prefer this position, in line j 1 — some thus, in 

1 1 1 1 . [ I I 

unicorn 1 1 — and others the right angle. 1 c 

It is popularly asserted that in the Hujrah there is 
now spare place for only a single grave, reserved for Isa 
bin Maryam after his second coming. The historians of 
Al-Islam are full of tales proving that though many of 
their earlier saints, as Osman the Caliph and Hasan the 
Imam, were desirous of being buried there ; and that 
although Ayishah, to whom the room belonged, willingly 
acceded to their wishes, son of man has as yet been 
unable to occupy it. 

After the Fatihah pronounced at Omar's tomb, and 
the short inspection of the Hujrah, Shaykh Hamid led 
me round the south-east corner of the baldaquin. 2 Turning 

1 The vulgar story of the suspended coffin has been explained 
in two ways. Niebuhr supposes it to have arisen from the rude 
drawings sold to strangers. Mr. William Bankes (Giovanni Finati, 
vol. ii., p. 289) believes that the mass of rock popularly described as 
hanging unsupported in the Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem was con- 
founded by Christians, who could not have seen either of these 
Moslem shrines, with the Apostle's Tomb at Al-Madinah. 

2 Some Moslems end their Ziyarat at the Apostle's Tomb ; others, 
instead of advancing, as I did, return to the Apostle's window, pray, 
and beg pardon for their parents and themselves, and ask all they de- 
sire, concluding with prayers to the Almighty. Thence they repair to 
the Rauzah or Garden, and standing at the column called after Abu 
Lubabah, pray a two-bow prayer there ; concluding with the 
" Dua," or benediction upon the Apostle, and there repeat these 
words: " O Allah, Thou hast said, and Thy word is true, ' Say, O 
Lord, pardon and show Mercy ; for Thou art the best of the Merciful,' 
(chap. 23). O God, verily we have heard Thy Word, and we come for 
Intercession to Thy Apostle from our own Sins, repenting our Errors, 
and confessing our Shortcomings and Transgressions ! O Allah, pity 
us, and by the Dignity of Thy Apostle raise our Place, (in the Heavenly 
Kingdom) ! O Allah, pardon our Brothers who have preceded us 
iii the Faith ! " Then the Zair prays for himself, and his parents, 
and for those he loves. He should repeat, " Allah have mercy upon 

326 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

towards the north, we stopped at what is commonly 
called the Mahbat Jibvail (" Place of the Archangel 
Gabriel's Descent with the Heavenly Revelations"), or 
simply Al-Malaikah — the Angels. It is a small window 
in the Eastern wall of the Mosque; we turned our backs 
upon it, and fronting the Hujrah, recited the following 
prayer : — 

"Peace be upon You, O Angels of Allah, the Mukar- 
rabin (cherubs), and the Musharrifin (seraphs), the pure, 
the holy, honored by the Dwellers in Heaven, and by 
those who abide upon the Earth. O beneficent Lord ! 
O Long-suffering ! O Almighty ! O Pitier ! O thou Com- 
passionate One ! perfect our Light, and pardon our Sins, 
and accept Penitence for our Offences, and cause us to die 
among the Holy ! Peace be upon Ye, Angels of the 
Merciful, one and all ! And the Mercy of God and His 
Blessings be upon You ! " After which I was shown the 
spot in the Hujrah where Sayyidna Isa shall be buried 1 by 
Mohammed's side. 

Thee, O Apostle of Allah ! " seventy times, when an angel will reply, 
" Allah bless thee, O thou blesser." Then he should sit before the 
Pulpit, and mentally conceive in it the Apostle surrounded by the 
Fugitives and the Auxiliaries. Some place the right hand upon the 
pulpit, even as Mohammed used to do. The Zair then returns to 
the column of Abu Lubabah, and repents his sins there. Secondly, 
he stands in prayer at Ali's Pillar in front of the form. And, lastly, 
he repairs to the Ustuwanat al-Ashab (the Companions' Column) the 
fourth distant from the Pulpit on the right, and the third from the 
Hujrah on the left ; here he prays and meditates, and blesses Allah 
and the Apostle. After which, he proceeds to visit the rest of the 
holy places. 

1 It is almost unnecessary to inform the reader that all Moslems 
deny the personal suffering of Christ, cleaving to the heresy of the 
Christian Docetes, — certain " beasts in the shape of men," as they are 
called in the Epistles of Ignatius to the Smyrneans, — who believed 
that a phantom was crucified in our Saviour's place. They also hold 
to the second coming of the Lord in the flesh, as a forerunner to 
Mohammed, who shall reappear shortly before the day of judgment. 
Bartema (Appendix 2) relates a story concerning the Saviour's 
future tomb. 

XVI. — A Visit to the Pvophefs Tomb. 327 

Then turning towards the West, at a point where 
there is a break in the symmetry of the Hujrah, we 
arrived at the sixth station, the sepulchre or cenotaph of 
the Lady Fatimah. Her grave is outside the enceinte 
and the curtain which surrounds her father's remains ; so 
strict is Moslem decorum, and so exalted its opinion of the 
"Virgin's" 1 delicacy. The Eastern side of the Hujrah, 
here turning a little Westward, interrupts the shape of the 
square, in order to give this spot the appearance of dis- 
connection with the rest of the building. The tomb, seen 
through a square aperture like those above described, is 
a long catafalque, covered with a black pall. Though 
there is great doubt whether the Lady be not buried with 
her son Hassan in the Bakia cemetery, this place is always 
visited by the pious Moslem. The following is the prayer 
opposite the grave of the amiable Fatimah : — 

"Peace be upon Thee, Daughter of the Apostle of 
Allah ! Peace be upon Thee, Daughter of the Prophet 
of Allah ! Peace be upon Thee, thou Daughter of Mustafa ! 
Peace be upon Thee, thou Mother of the Shurafa! 2 (seed 
of Mohammed.) Peace be upon Thee, O Lady amongst 
Women ! Peace be upon Thee,.0 fifth of the Ahl al-Kisa ' 3 
Peace be upon Thee, O Zahra and Batul! 4 (Pure and Vir- 

1 This epithet will be explained below. The reader must bear in 
mind, that this part of the Harim was formerly the house of Ali and 
Fatimah ; it was separated from the Hujrah — the abode of Moham- 
med and Ayishah — only by a narrow brick wall, with a window in it, 
which was never shut. Omar Bin Abd al-Aziz enclosed it in the 
mosque, by order of Al-Walid, a.h. 90. 

2 Plural of Sharif, a descendant of Mohammed. 

3 The " people of the garment," so called, because on one occasion 
the Apostle wrapped his cloak around himself, his daughter, his son- 
in-law, and his two grandsons, thereby separating them in dignity 
from other Moslems. 

4 Burckhardt translates " Zahra " "bright blooming Fatimah." 
This I believe to be the literal meaning of the epithet. When thus 
applied, however, it denotes " virginem to. Kara/x^via nescientem," 

328 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

gin). Peace be upon Thee,0 Daughter of the Apostle! Peace 
be upon Thee, O Spouse of our Lord Ali al-Murtaza! 
Peace be upon Thee, O Mother of Hasan and Husayn, 
the two Moons, the two Lights, the two Pearls, the two 
Princes of the Youth of Heaven, and Coolness of the 
Eyes 1 (i.e. joy and gladness) of true Believers ! Peace be 
upon Thee, and upon Thy Sire, Al-Mustafa, and Thy 
Husband, our Lord Ali ! Allah honour his Face, and Thy 
Face, and Thy Father's Face in Paradise, and Thy two 
Sons, the Hasanayn ! And the Mercy of Allah and His 
Blessings ! " 

We then broke away as we best could from the 
crowd of female " askers," who have established their 
Lares and Penates under the shadow of the Lady's wing ; 
and, advancing a few paces, we fronted to the North, and 
recited a prayer in honour of Hamzah, and of the martyrs 
who lie buried at the foot of Mount Ohod. 2 We then 
turned to the right, and, fronting the Easterly wall, prayed 
for the souls of the blessed whose mortal spirits repose 
within Al-Bakia's hallowed circuit. 3 

After this we returned to the Southern wall of the 
Mosque, and, facing towards Meccah, we recited the 
following supplication : — "O Allah! (three times repeated) 
O Compassionate! O Beneficent! O Requiter (of good and 

in which state of purity the daughter of the Apostle is supposed to 
have lived. For the same reason she is called Al-Batul, the Virgin, 
— a title given by Eastern Christians to the Mother of our Lord. 
The perpetual virginity of Fatimah, even after the motherhood, is a 
point of orthodoxy in Al-Islam. 

1 Meaning "joy and gladness in the sight of true believers." 

2 The prayer is now omitted, in order to avoid the repetition of 
it when describing a visit to Mount Ohod. 

3 The prayers usually recited here are especially in honour of 
Abbas, Hasan, (Ali, called) Zayn al-Abidin, Osman, the Lady 
Halimah, the Martyrs, and the Mothers of the Moslems, (i.e. the 
Apostle's wives), buried in the holy cemetery. When describing a 
visit to Al-Bakia, they will be translated at full length. 

XVI.— A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 329 

evil) ! O Prince ! O Ruler ! O ancient of Benefits ! O 
Omniscient! O Thou who givest when asked, and who 
aidest when Aid is required, accept this our Visitation, 
and preserve us from Dangers, and make easy our Affairs, 
and broaden our Breasts, (gladden our hearts), and receive 
our Prostration, and requite us according to our good 
Deeds, and turn not against us our evil Deeds, and place 
not over us one who feareth not Thee, and one who 
pitieth not us, and write Safety and Health upon us and 
upon Thy Slaves, the Hujjaj (pilgrims), and the Ghuzzat 
(fighters for the faith), and the Zawwar 1 (visitors to the 
tomb), and the Home-dwellers and the Wayfarers of the 
Moslems, by Land and by Sea, and pardon those of the 
Faith of our Lord Mohammed One and All! " 

From the Southern wall we returned to the "Apostle's 
Window," where we recited the following tetrastich and 
prayer : — 

"O Mustafa! verily, I stand at Thy door, 

A man, weak and fearful, by reason of my sins : 

If Thou aid me not, O Apostle of Allah ! 

I die — for, in the world there is none generous as Thou art ! " 

" Of a Truth, Allah and His Angels bless the Apostle ! 
O Ye who believe, bless Him and salute Him with saluta- 
tion! 2 O Allah ! verily I implore Thy Pardon and sup- 
plicate Thine Aid in this World as in the next ! O Allah ! 
O Allah ! abandon us not in this Holy Place to the conse- 
quences of our Sins without pardoning them, or to our 
Griefs without consoling them, or to our Fears, O Allah ! 
without removing them. And Blessings and Salutation to 
Thee, O Prince of Apostles, Commissioned (to preach the 
word), and laud be to Allah, the Lord of the (three) 
Worlds !" 

We turned away from the Hujrah, and after gratifying 

1 Hujjaj is the plural of Hajj — pilgrims ; Ghuzzat, of Ghazi — 
crusaders ; and Zawwar of Zair — visitors to Mohammed's tomb. 

2 " Taslim " is "to say Salam " to a person. 

330 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

a meek-looking but exceedingly importunate Hindi beggar, 
who insisted on stunning me with the Chapter Y, S., 1 we 
fronted Southwards, and taking care that our backs should 
not be in a line with the Apostle's face, stood opposite the 
niche called Mihrab Osman. There Hamid proceeded 
with another supplication. "O Allah! (three times 
repeated), O Safeguard of the Fearful, and Defender of 
those who trust in Thee, and Pitier of the Weak, the 
Poor, and the Destitute! accept us, O Beneficent! and 
pardon us, O Merciful! and receive our Penitence, O 
Compassionate ! and have Mercy upon us, O Forgiver ! 
— for verily none but Thou canst remit Sin ! Of a Truth 
Thou alone knowest the hidden, and veilest Man's Trans- 
gressions : veil, then, our Offences, and pardon our Sins, 
and broaden our Breasts, and cause our last Words at the 
Supreme Hour of Life to be the Words, ' There is no god 
but Allah, 2 and our Lord Mohammed is the Apostle of 
Allah ! ' O Allah ! cause us to live according to this 
Saying, O thou Giver of life ; and make us to die in this 
Faith, O thou Ruler of Death ! And the best of Blessings 
and the completest of Salutations upon the sole Lord of 
Intercession, our Lord Mohammed and His Family, and 
His Companions One and All !" 

Lastly, we returned to the Garden, 3 and prayed another 
two-bow prayer, ending, as we began, with the worship 
of the Creator. 

i The Ya Sin (Y, S), the 36th chapter of the Koran, frequently- 
recited by those whose profession it is to say such masses for the 
benefit of living, as well as of dead, sinners. Most educated Mos- 
lems commit it to memory. 

2 Or more correctly, "There is no Ilah but Allah," that is, 
" There is no god but the God." 

3 Some Zairs, after praying at the Caliph Osman's niche, leave 
the Mosque, especially when the " Jama'at," or public worship, is not 
being performed in the Rauzah. Others, as we did, pray alone in the 
Garden, and many authors prefer this conclusion to Visitation, for 
the reason above given. 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 331 

Unfortunately for me, the boy Mohammed had donned 
that grand embroidered coat. At the end of the ceremony 
the Aghas, or eunuchs of the Mosque, a race of men con- 
sidered respectable by their office, and prone to make 
themselves respected by the freest administration of club- 
law, assembled in Al-Rauzah to offer me the congratulation 
Ziyaratak Mubdmk — " Blessed be thy Visitation," — and to 
demand fees. Then came the Sakka, or water-carrier of 
the Mosque well, Zemzem, 1 offering a tinned saucer filled 
from the holy source. And lastly I was beset by beggars. 

Some were mild beggars and picturesque, who sat 
upon the ground immersed in the contemplation of their 
napkins ; others, angry beggars who cursed if they were 
not gratified ; and others noisy and petulant beggars, 
especially the feminine party near the Lady's tomb, who 
captured me by the skirt of my garment, compelling 
me to ransom myself. There were, besides, pretty 
beggars, boys who held out the right hand on the score 
of good looks ; ugly beggars, emaciated rascals whose 
long hair, dirt, and leanness entitled them to charity; 
and lastly, the blind, the halt, and the diseased, who, 
as Sons of the Holy City, demanded from the Faithful 
that support with which they could not provide them- 
selves. Having been compelled by my companions, 
highly against my inclination, to become a man of rank, 
I was obliged to pay in proportion, and my almoner 
in the handsome coat, as usual, took a kind of pride in 
being profuse. This first visit cost me double what I 
had intended — four dollars — nearly one pound sterling, 
and never afterwards could I pay less than half that sum. 2 

1 This has become a generic name for a Well situated within the 
walls of a Mosque. 

2 As might be expected, the more a man pays, the higher he 
estimates his own dignity. Some Indians have spent as much as 
500 dollars during a first visit. Others have "made Maulids," 
i. e., feasted all the poor connected with the temple with rice, meat, 

332 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Having now performed all the duties of a good 
Zair, I was permitted by Shaykh Hamid to wander 
about and see the sights. We began our circumam- 
bulation at the Bab al-Salam, 1 the Gate of Salvation, 
the South-Western entrance pierced in the long wall 
of the Mosque. It is a fine archway handsomely 
encrusted with marble and glazed tiles ; the many gilt 
inscriptions on its sides give it, especially at night-time, 
an appearance of considerable splendour. The portcullis- 
like doors are of wood, strengthened with brass plates, and 
nails of the same metal. Outside this gate is a little Sabil, 
or public fountain, where those who will not pay for the 
water, kept ready in large earthen jars by the "Sakka" 
of the Mosque, perform their ablutions gratis. Here all 
the mendicants congregate in force, sitting on the outer 
steps and at the entrance of the Mosque, up and through 
which the visitors must pass. 

About the centre of the Western wall is the Bab al- 
Rahmah, the Gate of Pity, which admits the dead 
bodies of the Faithful when carried to be prayed over in 
the Mosque. There is nothing remarkable in its appear- 
ance ; in common with the other gates it has huge folding 
doors, iron-bound, an external flight of steps, and a few 
modern inscriptions. 

The Bab Majidi, or Gate of the Sultan Abdal-Majid, 
stands in the centre of the Northern wall ; like its portico, 
it is unfinished, but its present appearance promises that 
it will eclipse all except the Bab al-Salam. 

The Bab al-Nisa, or Gate of Women, is in the 
Eastern wall opposite the Bab al-Rahmah, with which it 
is connected by the "Farsh al-Hajar," a broad band of 
stone, two or three steps below the level of the portico, 

&c, whilst others brought rare and expensive presents for the 
officials. Such generosity, however, is becoming rare in these un- 
worthy days. 

i This gate was anciently called the Bab al-Atakah, "of Deliver- 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 333 

and slightly raised above the Sahn or the hypaethral por- 
tion of the Mosque. And lastly, in the Southern portion 
of the same Eastern wall is the Bab Jibrail, the Gate of 
the Archangel Gabriel. 1 

All these entrances are arrived at by short external 
nights of steps leading from the streets, as the base of the 
temple, unlike that of Meccah, is a little higher than the 
foundation of the buildings around it. The doors are 
closed by the attendant eunuchs immediately after the 
night prayers, except during the blessed month Al- 
Ramazan and in the pilgrimage season, when pious 
visitors pay considerable fees there to pass the night in 
meditation and prayer. 

The minarets are five in number ; but one, the 
Shikayliyah, at the North-West angle of the building, has 
been levelled, and is still in process of being rebuilt. The 
Munar Bab al-Salam stands by the gate of that name : it 
is a tall, handsome tower, surmounted by a large ball or 
cone 2 of brass gilt or burnished. The Munar Bab al- 
Rahmah, about the centre of the Western wall, is of more 
simple form than the others : it has two galleries, with 
the superior portion circular, and surmounted by the 
conical "extinguisher "-roof so common in Turkey and 
Egypt. On the North-East angle of the Mosque stands 
the Sulaymaniyah Munar, so named after its founder, 
Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. It is a well-built and 
substantial stone-tower divided into three stages ; the two 

1 Most of these entrances have been named and renamed. The 
Bab Jibrail, for instance, which derives its present appellation 
from the general belief that the archangel once passed through it, is 
generally called in books Bab al-Jabr, the Gate of Repairing (the 
broken fortunes of a friend or follower). It must not be confounded 
with the Mahbat Jibrail, or the window near it in the Eastern wall, 
where the archangel usually descended from heaven with the Wahy 
or Inspiration. 

2 By some wonderful process the " Printer's Devil " converted, 
in the first edition, this " bailor cone" into "bull or cow." 

334 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

lower portions are polygonal, the upper cylindrical, and 
each terminates in a platform with a railed gallery carried 
all round for the protection of those who ascend. 

And lastly, from the South-East angle of the Mosque, 
supposed to be upon the spot where Belal, the Apostle's 
loud-lunged crier, called the first Moslems to prayer, 1 
springs the Munar Raisiyah, so called because it is ap- 
propriated to the Ruasa or chiefs of the Mu'ezzins. Like 
the Sulaymaniyah, it consists of three parts : the first and 
second stages are polygonal ; and the third, a cylinder, is 
furnished like the lower two with a railed gallery. Both 
the latter minarets end in solid ovals of masonry, from 
which project a number of wooden triangles. To these 
and to the galleries on all festive occasions, such as the 
arrival of the Damascus caravan, are hung oil-lamps — a 
poor attempt at illumination, which may rationally 
explain the origin of the Madinite superstition concerning 
the column of light which crowns the Prophet's tomb. 
There is no uniformity in the shape or the size of these 
four minarets, and at first sight, despite their beauty and 
grandeur, they appear somewhat bizarre and misplaced. 
But after a few days I found that my eye grew accustomed 
to them, and I had no difficulty in appreciating their 
massive proportions and lofty forms. 

Equally irregular are the Riwaks, or porches, sur- 
rounding the hypaethral court. Along the Northern wall 
there will be, when finished, a fine colonnade of granite, 
paved with marble. The Eastern Riwak has three rows 
of pillars, the Western four, and the Southern, under 
which stands the tomb, of course has its columns ranged 
deeper than all the others. These supports of the building 
are of different material ; some of fine marble, others of 

i Belal, the loud-lunged crier, stood, we are informed, by Moslem 
historians, upon a part of the roof on one of the walls of the Mosque. 
The minaret, as the next chapter will show, was the invention of a 
more tasteful age. 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 335 

rough stone, plastered over and painted with the most 
vulgar of arabesques, — vermilion and black in irregular 
patches and broad streaks, like the stage-face of a London 
clown. 1 Their size, moreover, is different, the Southern 
colonnade being composed of pillars palpably larger than 
those in the other parts of the Mosque. Scarcely any 
two shafts own similar capitals ; many have no pedestal, 
and some of them are cut with a painful ignorance of art. 
I cannot extend my admiration of the minarets to the 
columns — in their " architectural lawlessness " there is not 
a redeeming point. 

Of these unpraisable pillars three are celebrated in 
the annals of Al- Islam, for which reason their names are 
painted upon them, and five others enjoy the honour of 
distinctive appellations. The first is called Al-Mukhallak, 
because, on some occasion of impurity, it was anointed 
with a perfume called Khaluk. It is near the Mihrab al- 
Nabawi, on the right of the place where the Imam prays ; 
and it notes the spot where, before the invention of the 
Pulpit, the Apostle, leaning upon the Ustuwanat al-Han- 
nanah — the Weeping Pillar 2 — used to recite the Khutbah 
or Friday sermon. 

The second stands third from the Pulpit, and third 
from the Hujrah. It is called the Pillar of Ayishah, also 
the Ustuwanat al-Kurah, or the Column of Lots, because 
the Apostle, according to the testimony of his favourite 
wife, declared that if men knew the value of the place, 
they would cast lots to pray there : in some books it is 
known as the Pillar of the Muhajirin or Fugitives, and 
others mention it as Al-Mukhallak — the Perfumed. 

Twenty cubits distant from Ayishah's Pillar, and the 

1 This abomination may be seen in Egypt on many of the tombs, 
— those outside the Bal al-Nasr at Cairo, for instance. 

2 The tale of this Weeping Pillar is well known. Some suppose 
it to have been buried beneath the pulpit : others — they are few in 
number — declare that it was inserted in the body of the pulpit. 

336 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

second from the Hujrah, and the fourth from the Pulpit, 
is the Pillar of Repentance, or of Abu Lubabah. It 
derives its name from the following circumstance. Abu 
Lubabah was a native of Al-Madinah, one of the Auxili- 
aries and a companion of Mohammed, originally it is said 
a Jew, according to others of the Beni Amr bin Auf of 
the Aus tribe. Being sent for by his kinsmen or his allies, 
the Benu Kurayzah, at that time capitulating to 
Mohammed, he was consulted by the distracted men, 
women, and children, who threw themselves at his feet, 
and begged of him to intercede for them with the offended 
Apostle. Abu Lubabah swore he would do so : at the 
same time, he drew his hand across his throat, as much 
as to say, " Defend yourselves to the last, for if you yield, 
such is your doom." Afterwards repenting, he bound 
himself with a huge chain to the date-tree in whose place 
the column now stands, vowing to continue there until 
Allah and the Apostle accepted his penitence — a circum- 
stance which did not take place till the tenth day, when 
his hearing was gone and he had almost lost his sight. 

The less celebrated pillars are the Ustuwanat al- 
Sarir, or Column of the Cot, where the Apostle was wont 
to sit meditating on his humble couch-frame of date- 
sticks. The Ustuwanat Ali notes the spot where the 
fourth Caliph used to pray and watch near his father-in- 
law at night. At the Ustuwanat al-Wufud, as its name 
denotes, the Apostle received envoys, couriers, and 
emissaries from foreign places. The Ustuwanat al- 
Tahajjud now stands where Mohammed, sitting upon his 
mat, passed the night in prayer. And lastly is the 
Makam Jibrail (Gabriel's place), for whose other name, 
Mirbaat al-Bair, " the Pole of the Beast of Burden," I 
have been unable to find an explanation. 

The four Riwaks, or porches, of the Madinah Mosque 
open upon a hypaethral court of parallelogramic shape. 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 337 

The only remarkable object in it 1 is a square of wooden 
railing enclosing a place full of well-watered earth, called 
the Garden of our Lady Fatimah. 2 It now contains a 
dozen date-trees — in Ibn Jubayr's time there were fifteen. 
Their fruit is sent by the eunuchs as presents to the 
Sultan and the great men of Al- Islam ; it is highly valued 
by the vulgar, but the Olema do not think much of its 
claims to importance. Among the palms are the vener- 
able remains of a Sidr, or Lote tree, 3 whose produce 
is sold for inordinate sums. The enclosure is entered 
by a dwarf gate in the South-Eastern portion of the 
railing, near the well, and one of the eunuchs is 
generally to be seen in it : it is under the charge of the 
Mudir, or chief treasurer. These gardens are not un- 
common in Mosques, as the traveller who passes through 
Cairo can convince himself. They form a pretty and an 
appropriate feature in a building erected for the worship 
of Him ''Who spread the Earth with Carpets of Flowers 
and drew shady Trees from the dead Ground." A tradi- 
tion of the Apostle also declares that "Acceptable is 
Devotion in the Garden and in the Orchard." 

1 The little domed building which figures in the native sketches, 
and in all our prints of the Al-Madinah Mosque, was taken down 
three or four years ago. It occupied part of the centre of the square, 
and was called Kubbat al-Zayt — Dome of Oil ; or Kubbat al-Shama — 
Dome of Candles, — from its use as a store-room for lamps and wax 

2 This is its name among the illiterate, who firmly believe the 
palms to be descendants of trees planted there by the hands of the 
Prophet's daughter. As far as I could discover, the tradition has no 
foundation, and in old times there was no garden in the hypasthral 
court. The vulgar are in the habit of eating a certain kind of date, 
"Al-Sayhani," in the Mosque, and of throwing the stones about; 
this practice is violently denounced by the Olema. 

3 Rhamnus Nabeca, Forsk. The fruit, called Nabak, is eaten, 
and the leaves are used for the purpose of washing dead bodies. The 
visitor is not forbidden to take fruit or water as presents from Al- 
Madinah, but it is unlawful for him to carry away earth, or stones, 
or cakes of dust, made for sale to the ignorant. 

VOL. I. 22 

338 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mcccah. 

At the South-East angle of this enclosure, under a 
wooden roof supported by pillars of the same material, 
stands the Zemzem, generally called the Bir al-Nabi, or 
"the Apostle's well." My predecessor declares that the 
brackishness of its produce has stood in the way of its 
reputation for holiness. Yet a well-educated man told me 
that it was as "light" (wholesome) water 1 as any in 
Al-Madinah, — a fact which he accounted for by sup- 
posing a subterraneous passage 2 which connects it with 
the great Zemzem at Meccah. Others, again, believe 
that it is filled by a vein of water springing directly 
under the Apostle's grave : generally, however, among 
the learned it is not more revered than our Lady's 
Garden, nor is it ranked in books among the holy wells 
of Al-Madinah. 

Between this Zemzem well and the Eastern Riwak is 
the Stoa, or Academia, of the Prophet's city. In the cool 
mornings and evenings the ground is strewed with pro- 
fessors, who teach the young idea, as an eminent orientalist 
hath it, to shout rather than to shoot. 3 A few feet to the 
South of the palm garden is a moveable wooden planking 
painted green, and about three feet high ; it serves to 
separate the congregation from the Imam when he prays 
here ; and at the North-Eastern angle of the enclosure is a 

1 The Arabs, who, like all Orientals, are exceedingly curious 
about water, take the trouble to weigh the produce of their wells ; the 
lighter the water, the more digestible and wholesome it is considered. 

2 The common phenomenon of rivers flowing underground in 
Arabia has, doubtless, suggested to the people these subterraneous 
passages, with which they connect the most distant places. At Al- 
Madinah, amongst other tales of short cuts known only to certain 
Badawi families, a man told me of a shaft leading from his native 
city to Hazramaut : according to him, it existed in the times of the 
Prophet, and was a journey of only three days! 

3 The Mosque Library is kept in large chests near the Bab al- 
Salam ; the only MS. of any value here is a Koran written in the 
Sulsi hand. It is nearly four feet long, bound in a wooden cover, 
and padlocked, so as to require from the curious a " silver key.' 

22 2 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 339 

Shajar Kanadil, a large brass chandelier, which completes 
the furniture of the court. 

After this inspection, the shadows of evening began to 
gather round us. We left the Mosque, reverently taking 
care to issue forth with the left foot, and not to back out 
of it as is the Sunnat or practice derived from the Apostle, 
when taking leave of the Meccan Temple. 

To conclude this long chapter. Although every Mos- 
lem, learned and simple, firmly believes that Mohammed's 
remains are interred in the Hujrah at Al-Madinah, I cannot 
help suspecting that the place is doubtful as that of the 
Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. It must be remembered 
that a tumult followed the announcement of the Apostle's 
death, when the people, as often happens, believing him to 
be immortal, 1 refused to credit the report, and even Omar 
threatened destruction to any one that asserted it. 

Moreover the body was scarcely cold when the contest 
about the succession arose between the fugitives of Meccah 
and the auxiliaries of Al-Madinah : in the ardour of which, 
according to the Shi'ahs, the house of Ali and Fatimah — 
within a few feet of the spot where the tomb of the Apostle 
is now placed — was threatened with fire, and Abu Bakr 
was elected Caliph that same evening. If anyone find 
cause to wonder that the last resting-place of a personage 
so important was not fixed for ever, he may find many a 
parallel case in Al-Madinah. To quote no other, three 
several localities claim the honour of containing the Lady 
Fatimah's mortal spoils, although one might suppose that 
the daughter of the Apostle and the mother of the Imams 
would not be laid in an unknown grave. My reasons for 
incredulity are the following : 

1 So the peasants in Brittany believe that Napoleon the First is 
not yet dead ; the Prussians expect Frederick the Second ; the Swiss, 
William Tell ; the older English, King Arthur ; and certain modern 
fanatics look forward to the re-appearance of Joanna Southcote. 
Why multiply instances in so well known a branch of the history of 
popular superstitions? 

34-Q Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

From the earliest days the shape of the Apostle's tomb 
has never been generally known in Al-Islam. For this 
reason it is that graves are made convex in some countries, 
and flat in others. Had there been a Sunnat, 1 such would 
not have been the case. 

The accounts of the learned are discrepant. Al- 
Samanhudi, perhaps the highest authority, contradicts 
himself. In one place he describes the coffin ; in another 
he expressly declares that he entered the Hujrah when it 
was being repaired by Kaid-Bey, and saw in the inside 
three deep graves, but no traces of tombs. 2 Either, then, 
the mortal remains of the Apostle had, despite Moslem 
superstition, 3 mingled with the dust, (a probable circum- 

i The Sunnat is the custom or practice of the Apostle, rigidly- 
conformed to by every good and orthodox Moslem. 

2 The reader will bear in mind that I am quoting from Burck- 
hardt. When in Al-Hijaz and at Cairo, I vainly endeavoured to buy 
a copy of Al-Samanhudi. One was shown to me at Al-Madinah ; 
unhappily, it bore the word Wakf (bequeathed), and belonged to the 
Mosque. I was scarcely allowed time to read it. (See p. 102, ante.) 

3 In Moslem law, prophets, martyrs, and saints, are not supposed 
to be dead ; their property, therefore, remains their own. The Olema 
have confounded themselves in the consideration of the prophetic 
state after death. Many declare that prophets live and pray for 
forty days in the tomb ; at the expiration of which time, they are 
taken to the presence of their Maker, where they remain till the 
blast of Israfil's trumpet. The common belief, however, leaves the 
bodies in the graves, but no one would dare to assert that the holy 
ones are suffered to undergo corruption. On the contrary, their 
faces are blooming, their eyes bright, and blood would issue from 
their bodies if wounded. Al-Islam, as will afterwards appear, 
abounds in traditions of the ancient tombs of saints and martyrs, 
when accidentally opened, exposing to view corpses apparently 
freshly buried. And it has come to pass that this fact, the result of 
sanctity, has now become an unerring indication of it. A remarkable 
case in point is that of the late Sharif Ghalib, the father of the 
present Prince of Meccah. In his lifetime he was reviled as a wicked 
tyrant. But some years after his death, his body was found unde- 
composed ; he then became a saint, and men now pray at his tomb 
Perhaps his tyranny was no drawback to his holy reputation. La 

XVI. — A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 341 

stance after nearly nine hundred years' interment), or, what 
is more likely, they had been removed by the Shi'ah schis- 
matics who for centuries had charge of the sepulchre. 1 

And lastly, I cannot but look upon the tale of the 
blinding light which surrounds the Apostle's tomb, current 
for ages past and still universally believed upon the 
authority of the attendant eunuchs, who must know its 
falsehood, as a priestly gloss intended to conceal a defect. 

I here conclude the subject, committing it to some 
future and more favoured investigator. In offering the 
above remarks, I am far from wishing to throw a doubt 
upon an established point of history. But where a sus- 
picion of fable arises from popular " facts," a knowledge 
of man and of his manners teaches us to regard it with 
favouring eye. 2 

Brinvilliers was declared after execution, by her confessor and the 
people generally, a saint; — simply, I presume, because of the enormity 
of her crimes. 

1 Note to Third Edition. — I have lately been assured by Mo- 
hammed al-Halabi, Shaykh al-Olema of Damascus, that he was per- 
mitted by the Aghawat to pass through the gold-plated door leading 
into the Hujrah, and that he saw no trace of a sepulchre. 

2 I was careful to make a ground-plan of the Prophet's Mosque, 
as Burckhardt was prevented by severe illness from so doing. It 
will give the reader a fair idea of the main point, though, in certain 
minor details, it is not to be trusted. Some of my papers and 
sketches, which by precaution I had placed among my medicines, after 
cutting them into squares, numbering them, and rolling them care- 
fully up, were damaged by the breaking of a bottle. The plan of 
Al-Madinah is slightly altered from Burckhardt's. Nothing can be 
more ludicrous than the views of the Holy City, as printed in our 
popular works. They are of the style "bird's-eye," and present a 
curious perspective. They despise distance like the Chinese, — 
pictorially audacious ; the Harrah, or ridge in the foreground appears 
to be 200 yards, instead of three or four miles, distant from the town. 
They strip the place of its suburb Al-Manakhah, in order to show 
the enceinte, omit the fort, and the gardens north and south of the 
city, enlarge the Mosque twenty-fold for dignity, and make it occupy 
the whole centre of the city, instead of a small corner in the south- 

342 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

east quarter. They place, for symmetry, towers only at the angles 
of the walls, instead of all along the curtain, and gather up and press 
into the same field all the venerable and interesting features of the 
country, those behind the artist's back, and at his sides, as well as 
what appears in front. Such are the Turkish lithographs. At 
Meccah, some Indians support themselves by depicting the holy 
shrines ; their works are a truly Oriental mixture of ground plan and 
elevation, drawn with pen and ink, and brightened with the most 
vivid colours — grotesque enough, but less unintelligible than the 
more ambitious imitations of European art. 




Ibn Abbas has informed the world that when the 
eighty individuals composing Noah's family issued from 
the ark, they settled at a place distant ten marches and 
twelve parasangs 1 (thirty-six to forty-eight miles) from 
Babel or Babylon. There they increased and multiplied, 
and spread into a mighty empire. At length under the 
rule of Namrud (Nimrod), son of Kanaan (Canaan), son 
of Ham, they lapsed from the worship of the true God : 
a miracle dispersed them into .distant parts of the earth, 
and they were further broken up by the one primaeval 
language being divided into seventy-two dialects. 

A tribe called Aulad Sam bin Nuh (the children of 
Shem), or Amalikah and Amalik, 2 from their ancestor 
Amlak bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Nuh, was inspired 

i In Oriental geography the parasang still, as in the days of 
Pliny, greatly varies, from 1500 to 6000 yards. Captain Francklin, 
whose opinion is generally taken, makes it (in his Tour to Persia) a 
measure of about four miles (Preface to Ibn Haukal, by Sir Gore 

2 M. C. de Perceval (Essai sur VHistoire des Arabes avant Vlslam- 
ismc), makes Amlak son of Laoud (Lud), son of Shem, or, according 
to others, son of Ham. That learned writer identifies the Amalik 
with the Phoenicians, the Amalekites, the Canaanites, and the 
Hyksos. He alludes, also, to an ancient tradition which makes them 
to have colonised Barbary in Africa. 

344 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

with a knowledge of the Arabic tongue 1 : it settled at Al- 
Madinah, and was the first to cultivate the ground and 
to plant palm-trees. In course of time these people ex- 
tended over the whole tract between the seas of Al-Hijaz 
(the Red Sea) and Al-Oman, (north-western part of the 
Indian Ocean), and they became the progenitors of the 
Jababirah 2 (tyrants or " giants") of Syria, as well as the 
Farainah (Pharaohs) of Egypt. 3 Under these Amalik such 

i The Dabistan al-Mazahib relates a tradition that the Almighty, 
when addressing the angels in command, uses the Arabic tongue, but 
when speaking in mercy or beneficence, the Deri dialect of Persian. 

2 These were the giants who fought against Israel in Palestine. 

3 In this wild tradition we find a confirmation of the sound 
geographical opinion which makes Arabia " Une des pepinieres du 
genre humain " (M. Jomard). It must be remembered that the 
theatre of all earliest civilisation has been a fertile valley with a 
navigable stream, like Sind, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The ex- 
istence of such a spot in Arabia would have altered every page of her 
history ; she would then have become a centre, not a source, of 
civilisation. Strabo's Malothes river in Al-Yaman is therefore a myth. 
As it is, the immense population of the peninsula — still thick, even in 
the deserts — has, from the earliest ages, been impelled by drought, 
famine, or desire of conquest, to emigrate into happier regions. All 
history mentions two main streams which took their rise in the wilds. 
The first set to the North-East, through Persia, Mekran, Baluchistan, 
Sind, and the Afghan Mountains, as far as Samarkand, Bokhara, 
and Tibet ; the other, flowing towards the North-West, passed 
through Egypt and Barbary into Etruria, Spain, the Isles of the 
Mediterranean, and Southern France. There are two minor emigra- 
tions chronicled in history, and written in the indelible characters of 
physiognomy and philology. One of these set in an exiguous but 
perennial stream towards India, especially Malabar, where, mixing 
with the people of the country, the Arab merchants became the pro- 
genitors of the Moplah race. The other was a partial emigration, 
also for commercial purposes, to the coast of Berberah, in Eastern 
Africa, where, mixing with the Galla tribes, the people of Hazramaut 
became the sires of the extensive Somali and Sawahil nations. Thus 
we have from Arabia four different lines of emigration, tending 
N.E. and S.E., N.W. and S.W. At some future time I hope to 
develop this curious but somewhat obscure portion of Arabian 
history. It bears upon a most interesting subject, and serves to ex- 
plain, by the consanguinity of races, the marvellous celerity with 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 345 

was the age of man that during the space of four hundred 
years a bier would not be seen, nor " keening " be heard, 
in their cities. 

The last king of the Amalik, "Arkam bin al-Arkam, 1 " 
was, according to most authors, slain by an army of the 
children of Israel sent by Moses after the Exodus, 2 with 
orders thoroughly to purge Meccah and Al-Madinah of 
their Infidel inhabitants. All the tribe was destroyed, with 
the exception of the women, the children, and a youth of 
the royal family, whose extraordinary beauty persuaded 
the invaders to spare him pending a reference to the 
Prophet. When the army returned, they found that 
Moses had died during the expedition, and they were re- 
ceived with reproaches by the people for having violated 
his express command. The soldiers, unwilling to live 
with their own nation under this reproach, returned to Al- 
Hijaz, and settled there. 

Moslem authors are agreed that after the Amalik the 
Benu Israel ruled in the Holy Land of Arabia, but the 
learned in history are not agreed upon the cause of their 
emigration. According to some, when Moses was re- 
turning from a pilgrimage to Meccah, a multitude of his 
followers, seeing in Al-Madinah the signs of the city 
which, according to the Taurat, or Pentateuch, should 
hear the preaching of the last Prophet, settled there, and 
were joined by many Badawin of the neighbourhood who 

which the faith of Al-Islam spread from the Pillars of Hercules to 
the confines of China — embracing part of Southern Europe, the 
whole of Northern and a portion of Central Africa, and at least 
three-fourths of the continent of Asia. 

1 Of this name M. C. de Perceval remarks, " Le mot Arcam etait 
une designation commune a tous ces rois." He identifies it with 
Rekem (Numbers xxxi. 8), one of the kings of the Midianites ; and 
recognises in the preservation of the royal youth the history of Agag 
and Samuel. 

2 And some most ignorantly add, " after the entrance of Moses 
into the Promised Land." 

346 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

conformed to the law of Moses. Ibn Shaybah also 
informs us that when Moses and Aaron were wending 
northwards from Meccah, they, being in fear of certain 
Jews settled at Al-Madinah, did not enter the city, 1 but 
pitched their tents on Mount Ohod. Aaron being about 
to die, Moses dug his tomb, and said, " Brother, thine hour 
is come! turn thy face to the next world!" Aaron 
entered the grave, lay at full length, and immediately 
expired ; upon which the Jewish lawgiver covered him 
with earth, and went his way towards the Promised 
Land. 2 

Abu Hurayrah asserted that the Benu Israel, after 
long searching, settled in Al-Madinah, because, when 
driven from Palestine by the invasion of Bukht al-Nasr 
(Nebuchadnezzar), they found in their books that the 
last Prophet would manifest himself in a town of the 
towns of Arabiyah, 3 called Zat Nakhl, or the " Place of 
Palm trees." Some of the sons of Aaron occupied the 
city ; other tribes settled at Khaybar, 4 and in the neigh- 

1 In those days, we are told, the Jews, abandoning their original 
settlement in Al-Ghabbah or the low lands to the N. of the town, 
migrated to the highest portions of the Madinah plain on the S. and 
E., and the lands of the neighbourhood of the Kuba Mosque. 

2 When describing Ohod, I shall have occasion to allude to 
Aaron's dome, which occupies the highest part. Few authorities, 
however, believe that Aaron was buried there ; his grave, under a 
small stone cupola, is shown over the summit of Mount Hor, in the 
Sinaitic Peninsula, and is much visited by devotees. 

3 It must be remembered that many of the Moslem geographers 
derive the word " Arabia " from a tract of land in the neighbourhood 
of Al-Madinah. 

4 Khaybar in Hebrew is supposed to signify a castle. D'Herbelot 
makes it to mean a pact or association of the Jews against the Moslems. 
This fort appears to be one of the latest as well as the earliest of the 
Hebrew settlements in Al-Hijaz. Benjamin of Tudela asserts that 
there were 50,000 Jews resident at their old colony, Bartema in a.d. 
1703 found remnants of the people there, but his account of them is 
disfigured by fable. In Niebuhr's time the Beni Khaybar had inde- 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 347 

bourhood, building "Utum," or square, flat-roofed, stone 
castles for habitation and defence. They left an order to 
their descendants that Mohammed should be favourably 
received, but Allah hardened their hearts unto their own 
destruction. Like asses they turned their backs upon 
Allah's mercy, 1 and the consequence is, that they have 
been rooted out of the land. 

The Tarikh Tabari declares that when Bukht al- 
Nasr, 2 after destroying Jerusalem, attacked and slew the 
king of Egypt, who had given an asylum to a remnant of 
the house of Israel, the persecuted fugitives made their 
way into Al-Hijaz, settled near Yasrib (Al-Madinah), 
where they founded several towns, Khaybar, Fadak, 
Wady al-Subu, Wady al-Kura, Kurayzah, and many 
others. It appears, then, by the concurrence of historians, 
that the Jews at an early time either colonised, or sup- 
planted the Amalik at, Al-Madinah. 

At length the Israelites fell away from the worship of 
the one God, who raised up against them the Arab tribes 
of Aus and Khazraj, the progenitors of modern Ansar. 
Both these tribes claimed a kindred origin, and 

pendent Shaykhs, and were divided into three tribes, viz., the Benu 
Masad, the Benu Shahan, and the Benu Anizah (this latter, however, 
is a Moslem name), who were isolated and hated by the other Jews, 
and therefore the traveller supposes them to have been Karaites. 
In Burckhardt's day the race seems to have been entirely rooted out. 
I made many inquiries, and all assured me that there is not a single 
Jewish family now in Khaybar. It is indeed the popular boast in Al- 
Hijaz, that, with the exception of Jeddah (and perhaps Yambu', 
where the Prophet never set his foot), there is not a town in the country 
harbouring an Infidel. This has now become a point of fanatic 
honour ; but if history may be trusted, it has become so only lately. 

1 When the Arabs see the ass turn tail to the wind and rain, they 
exclaim, " Lo ! he turneth his back upon the mercy of Allah ! " 

2. M. C. de Perceval quotes Judith, ii. 13, 26, and Jeremiah, 
xlix. 28, to prove that Holofernes, the general of Nebuchadnezzar 
the First, laid waste the land of Midian and other parts of Northern 

348 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Al-Yaman as the land of their nativity. The circumstances 
of their emigration are thus described. The descendants of 
Yarab bin Kahtan bin Shalik bin Arkfakhshad bin Sam bin 
Nuh, kinsmen to the Amalik, inhabited in prosperity the 
land of Saba. 1 Their sway extended two months' journey 
from the dyke of Mareb, 2 near the modern capital of 
Al-Yaman, as far as Syria, and incredible tales are told of 
their hospitality and of the fertility of their land. As usual, 
their hearts were perverted by prosperity. They begged 
Allah to relieve them from the troubles of extended em- 
pire and the duties of hospitality by diminishing their 
possessions. The consequence of their impious suppli- 
cations was the well-known Flood of Iram. 

The chief of the descendants of Kahtan bin Saba, one 
of the ruling families in Al-Yaman, was one Amru bin Amin 
Ma al-Sama, 3 called " Al-Muzaykayh " from his rending 
in pieces every garment once worn. His wife Tarikah 
Himyariah, being skilled in divination, foresaw the fatal 
event, and warned her husband, who, unwilling to break 
from his tribe without an excuse, contrived the following 
stratagem. He privily ordered his adopted son, an orphan, 

i Saba in Southern Arabia. 

2 The erection of this dyke is variously attributed to Lukman the 
Elder (of the tribe of Ad) and to Saba bin Yashjab. It burst accord- 
ing to some, beneath the weight of a flood ; according to others, 
it was miraculously undermined by rats. A learned Indian Shaykh 
has mistaken the Arabic word " Jurad," a large kind of mouse 
or rat, for " Jarad," a locust, and he makes the wall to have 
sunk under a " bar i Malakh," or weight of locusts ! No event is more 
celebrated in the history of pagan Arabia than this, or more trust- 
worthy, despite the exaggeration of the details — the dyke is said to 
have been four miles long by four broad — and the fantastic marvels 
which are said to have accompanied its bursting. The ruins have 
lately been visited by M. Arnaud, a French traveller, who communi- 
cated his discovery to the French Asiatic Society in 1845. 

3 Ma al-Sama, " the water (or "the splendour ") of heaven," is, 
generally speaking, a feminine name amongst the pagan Arabs ; pos- 
sibly it is here intended as a matronymic. 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 349 

to dispute with him, and to strike him in the face at a feast 
composed of the principal persons in the kingdom. The 
disgrace of such a scene afforded him a pretext for selling 
off his property, and, followed by his thirteen sons, — all 
borne to him by his wife Tarikah, — and others of the 
tribe, Amru emigrated Northwards. The little party, thus 
preserved from the Yamanian Deluge, was destined by 
Allah to become the forefathers of the Auxiliaries of his 
chosen Apostle. 

All the children of Amru thus dispersed into different 
parts of Arabia. His eldest son, Salabah bin Amru, 
chose Al-Hijaz, settled at Al-Madinah, then in the hands 
of the impious Benu Israel, and became the father of the 
Aus and Khazraj. In course of time, the new comers 
were made by Allah an instrument of vengeance against 
the disobedient Jews. Of the latter people, the two tribes 
Kurayzah and Nazir claimed certain feudal rights (well 
known to Europe) upon all occasions of Arab marriages. 
The Aus and the Khazraj, after enduring this indignity 
for a time, at length had recourse to one of their kinsmen 
who, when the family dispersed, had settled in Syria. 
Abu Jubaylah, thus summoned, marched an army to Al- 
Madinah, avenged the honour of his blood, and destroyed 
the power of the Jews, who from that moment became 
Mawali, or clients to the Arabs. 

For a time the tribes of Aus and Khazraj, freed from 
the common enemy, lived in peace and harmony. At 
last they fell into feuds and fought with fratricidal strife, 
until the coming of the Prophet effected a reconciliation 
between them. This did not take place, however, before 
the Khazraj received, at the battle of Buas (about a.d. 
615), a decided defeat from the Aus. 

It is also related, to prove how Al-Madinah was pre- 
destined to a high fate, that nearly three centuries before 
the siege of the town by Abu Jubaylah, the Tobba al- 


Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Asghar 1 marched Northward, at the requisition of the Aus 
and Khazraj tribes, in order to punish the Jews ; or, 
according to others, at the request of the Jews to revenge 
them upon the Aus and Khazraj. After capturing the 
town, he left one of his sons to govern it, and marched 
onwards to conquer Syria and Al-Irak. 

Suddenly informed that the people of Al-Madinah had 
treacherously murdered their new prince, the exasperated 
Tobba returned and attacked the place ; and, when his 
horse was killed under him, he swore that he would never 
decamp before razing it to the ground. Whereupon two 
Jewish priests, Ka'ab and Assayd, went over to him and 
informed him that it was not in the power of man to 
destroy the town, it being preserved by Allah, as their 
books proved, for the refuge of His Prophet, the descen- 
dant of Ishmael. 2 

The Tobba Judaized. Taking four hundred of the 
priests with him, he departed from Al-Madinah, performed 
pilgrimage to the Ka'abah of Meccah, which he invested 
with a splendid covering 3 ; and, after erecting a house 

i This expedition to Al-Madinah is mentioned by all the pre-Islam- 
atic historians, but persons and dates are involved in the greatest 
confusion. Some authors mention two different expeditions by dif- 
ferent Tobbas ; others only one, attributing it differently, however, 
to two Tobbas, — Abu Karb in the 3rd century of the Christian era, and 
Tobba al-Asghar, the last of that dynasty, who reigned, according to 
some, in a.d. 300, according to others in a.d. 448. M. C. de Perceval 
places the event about a. d. 206, and asserts that the Aus and Khazraj 
did not emigrate to Al-Madinah before a.d. 300. The word Tobba or 
Tubba, I have been informed by some of the modern Arabs, is still 
used in the Himyaritic dialect of Arabic to signify " the Great " or 
"the Chief." 

2 Nothing is more remarkable in the annals of the Arabs than 
their efforts to prove the Ishmaelitic descent of Mohammed ; at the 
same time no historic question is more open to doubt. 

3 If this be true it proves that the Jews of Al-Hijaz had in those 
days superstitious reverence for the Ka'abah ; otherwise the Tobba, 
after conforming to the law of Moses, would not have shown it this 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 351 

for the expected Prophet, he returned to his capital in Al- 
Yaman, where he abolished idolatry by the ordeal of fire. 
He treated his priestly guests with particular attention, 
and on his death-bed he wrote the following tetrastich : — 
" I testify of Ahmad that he of a truth 
Is a prophet from Allah, the Maker of souls. 
Be my age extended into his age, 
I would be to him a Wazir and a cousin." 

Then sealing the paper he committed it to the charge of the 
High Priest, with a solemn injunction to deliver the letter, 
should an opportunity offer, into the hands of the great 
Prophet ; and that, if the day be distant, the missive 
should be handed down from generation to generation till 
it reached the person to whom it was addressed. The 
house founded by him at Al-Madinah was committed to a 
priest of whose descendants was Abu Ayyub the Ansari, 
the first person over whose threshold the Apostle passed 
when he ended the Flight. Abu Ayyub had also charge 
of the Tobba's letter, so that after three or four centuries, 
it arrived at its destination. 

Al-Madinah was ever well inclined to Mohammed. In l 

mark of respect. Moreover there is a legend that the same Rabbis 
dissuaded the Tobba from plundering the sacred place when he was 
treacherously advised so to do by the Benu Hudayl Arabs. I have lately 
perused " The Worship of Ba'alim in Israel," based upon the work of 
Dr. R. Dozy, " The Israelites in Mecca." By Dr. H. Oort. Trans- 
lated from the Dutch, and enlarged, with Notes and Appendices, by 
the Right Rev. John William Colenso, D.D. (Longmans.) I see no 
reason why Meccah or Beccah should be made to mean "A Slaugh- 
ter"; why the Ka'abah should be founded by the Simeonites ; why 
the Hajj should be the Feast of Trumpets ; and other assertions in 
which everything seems to be taken for granted except etymology, 
which is tortured into confession. If Meccah had been founded by 
the Simeonites, why did the Persians and the Hindus respect it ? 

1 It is curious that Abdullah, Mohammed's father, died and was 
buried at Al-Madinah, and that his mother Amman's tomb is at Abwa, 
on the Madinah road. Here, too, his great-grandfather Hashim 
married Salma Al-Mutadalliyah, before him espoused to Uhayhah, 
of the Aus tribe. Shaybah, generally called Abd al-Muttalib, the 

352 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the early part of his career, the emissaries of a tribe called 
the Benu Abd al- Ashhal came from that town to Meccah, 
in order to make a treaty with the Kuraysh, and the 
Apostle seized the opportunity of preaching Al- Islam to 
them. His words were seconded by Ayyas bin Ma'az, a 
youth of the tribe, and opposed by the chiefs of the 
embassy ; who, however, returned home without pledging 
themselves to either party. 1 Shortly afterwards a body of 
the Aus and the Khazraj came to the pilgrimage of 
Meccah : when Mohammed began preaching to them, 
they recognised the person so long expected by the Jews, 
and swore to him an oath which is called in Moslem history 
the " First Fealty of the Steep. 2 " 

After the six individuals who had thus pledged them- 
selves returned to their native city, the event being duly 
bruited abroad caused such an effect that, when the next 
pilgrimage season came, twelve, or according to others 
forty persons, led by As'adbin Zarahah, accompanied the 
original converts, and in the same place swore the " Second 
Fealty of the Steep. " The Prophet dismissed them in 
company with one Musab bin Umayr, a Meccan, charged 
to teach them the Koran and their religious duties, which 
in those times consisted only of prayer and the Profession 
of Unity. They arrived at Al-Madinah on a Friday, and 
this was the first day on which the city witnessed the 
public devotions of the Moslems. 

After some persecutions, Musab had the fortune to 
convert a cousin of As'ad bin Zararah, a chief of the Aus, 
Sa'ad bin Ma'az, whose opposition had been of the fiercest. 
He persuaded his tribe, the Benu Abd al-Ashhal, to break 

Prophet's grandfather, was the son of Salma, and was bred at Al- 

i Ayyas bin Ma'az died, it is said, a Moslem. 

2 " Bay at al-Akabat al-ula." It is so called because this oath 
was sworn at a place called Al-Akabah (the Mountain-road), near 
Muna. A Mosque was afterwards built there to commemorate the 

XV II. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 353 

their idols and openly to profess Al-Islam. The next 
season, Musab having made many converts, some say 
seventy, others three hundred, marched from Al-Madinah 
to Meccah for their pilgrimage ; and there induced his 
followers to meet the Prophet at midnight upon the Steep 
near Muna. Mohammed preached to them their duties 
towards Allah and himself, especially insisting upon the 
necessity of warring down infidelity. They pleaded 
ancient treaties with the Jews of Al-Madinah, and showed 
apprehension lest the Apostle, after bringing them into 
disgrace with their fellows, should desert them and return 
to the faith of his kinsmen, the Kuraysh. Mohammed, 
smiling, comforted them with the assurance that he was 
with them, body and soul, for ever. Upon this they 
asked him what would be their reward if slain. He re- 
plied, "Gardens 'neath which the streams flow," — that 
is to say, Paradise. 

Then, in spite of the advice of Al- Abbas, Mohammed's 
uncle, who was loud in his denunciations, they bade the 
Preacher stretch out his hand, and upon it swore the oath 
known as the " Great Fealty of the Steep." After com- 
forting them with an Ayat, or Koranic verse, which pro- 
mised heaven, the Apostle divided his followers into 
twelve bodies ; and placing a chief at the head of each, 1 
dismissed them to their homes. He rejected the offer 
made by one of the party — namely, to slay all the idolaters 
present at the pilgrimage — saying that Allah had favoured 
him with no such order. For the same reason he refused 
their invitation to visit Al-Madinah, which was the prin- 
cipal object of their mission ; and he then took an affec- 
tionate leave of them. 

1 Some Moslem writers suppose that Mohammed singled out 
twelve men as apostles, and called them Nakil, in imitation of the 
example of our Saviour. Other Moslems ignore both the fact and 
the intention. M. C. de Perceval gives the names of these Nakils in 
vol. iii. p. 8. 
VOL. I. 23 

354 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Two months and a half after the events above detailed, 
Mohammed received the inspired tidings that Al-Madinah 
of the Hijaz was his predestined asylum. In anticipation 
of the order, for as yet the time had not been revealed, he 
sent forward his friends, among whom were Omar, Talhah, 
and Hamzah, retaining with him Abu Bakr 1 and AH. The 
particulars of the Flight, that eventful accident to Al- 
Islam, are too well known to require mention here ; 
besides which they belong rather to the category of 
general than of Madinite history. 

Mohammed was escorted into Al-Madinah by one 
Buraydat al-Aslami and eighty men of the same tribe, 
who had been offered by the Kuraysh a hundred camels 
for the capture of the fugitives. But Buraydat, after 
listening to their terms, accidentally entered into conver- 
sation with Mohammed ; and no sooner did he hear the 
name of his interlocutor, than he professed the faith of Al- 
Islam. He then prepared for the Apostle a standard by 
attaching his turband to a spear, and anxiously inquired' 
what house was to be honoured by the presence of Allah's 
chosen servant. " Whichever," replied Mohammed, 
"this she-camel* 2 is ordered to show me." At the last 

i Orthodox Moslems do not fail to quote this circumstance 
in honour of the first Caliph, upon whom moreover they bestow the 
title of " Friend of the Cave." The Shi'ahs, on the other hand, 
hating Abu Bakr, see in it a symptom of treachery, and declare that 
the Prophet feared to let the " Old Hyena," as they opprobriously term 
the venerable successor, out of his sight for fear lest he should act 
as spy to the Kuraysh. The voice of history and of common sense is 
against the Shi'ahs. M. C. de Perceval justly remarks, that Abu Bakr 
and Omar were men truly worthy of their great predecessor. 

2 This animal's name, according to some, was Al-Kaswa (" the 
tips of whose ears are cropped ") ; according to others Al-Jada'a ("one 
mutilated in the ear, hand, nose, or lip"). The Prophet bought her 
for 800 dirhams, on the day before his flight, from Abu Bakr, who had 
fattened two fine animals of his own breeding. The camel was 
offered as a gift, but Mohammed insisted upon paying its price, 
because, say the Moslem casuists, he being engaged in the work of 

23 2 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 355 

halting-place, he accidentally met some of his disciples 
returning from a trading voyage to Syria ; they dressed 
him and his companion Abu Bakr in white clothing 
which, it is said, caused the people of Kuba to pay 
a mistaken reverence to the latter. The Moslems of 
Al-Madinah were in the habit of repairing every morning 
to the heights near the city, looking out for the Apostle ; 
and, when the sun waxed hot, they returned home. One 
day, about noon, a Jew, who discovered the retinue from 
afar, suddenly warned the nearest party of Ansar, or 
Auxiliaries of Al-Madinah, that the fugitive was come. 
They snatched up their arms and hurried from their houses 
to meet him. 

Mohammed's she-camel advanced to the centre of the 
then flourishing town of Kuba. There she suddenly knelt 
upon a place which is now consecrated ground ; at that 
time it was an open space, belonging, they say, to Abu 
Ayyub the Ansari, who had a house there near the abodes 
of the Benu Amr bin Auf. This event happened on the 
first day of the week, the twelfth of the month Rabia al- 
Awwal 1 (June 28, a.d. 622), in the firstyear of the Flight: 
for which reason Monday, which also witnessed the birth, 
the mission, and the death of the Prophet, is an auspicious 
day to Al-Islam. 

After halting two days in the house of Kulsum bin 
Hadmah at Kuba, and there laying the foundation of the 

God would receive no aid from man. According to M. C. de 
Perceval, the Prophet preached from the back of Al-Kaswa the cele- 
brated pilgrimage sermon at Arafat on the 8th March, a.d. 632. 

1 The Prophet is generally supposed to have started from Meccah 
on the first of the same month, on a Friday or a Monday. This dis- 
crepancy is supposed to arise from the fact that Mohammed fled his 
house in Meccah on a Friday, passed three days in the cave on Jabal 
Saur, and finally left it for Al-Madinah on Monday, which therefore, 
according to Moslem divines, was the first day of the " Hijrah." 
But the aera now commences on the 1st of the previous Muharram, 
an arrangement made seventeen years after the date of the flight by 
Omar the Caliph, with the concurrence of Ali. 

356 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah, 

first Mosque upon the lines where his she-camel trod, the 
Apostle was joined by Ali, who had remained at Meccah, 
for the purpose of returning certain trusts and deposits 
committed to Mohammed's charge. He waited three days 
longer ; on Friday morning (the 16th Rabia al-Awwal, 
a.h. i,=2nd July, a.d. 622), about sunrise he mounted Al- 
Kaswa, and, accompanied by a throng of armed Ansar 
on foot and on horseback, he took the way to the city. At 
the hour of public prayer, 1 he halted in the Wady or valley 
near Kuba, upon the spot where the Masjid al-Jum'ah now 
stands, performed his devotions, and preached an eloquent 
sermon. He then remounted. Numbers pressed forward 
to offer him hospitality ; he blessed them, and bade them 
stand out of the way, declaring that Al-Kaswa would halt 
of her own accord at the predestined spot. He then 
advanced to where the Apostle's pulpit now stands. There 
the she-camel knelt, and the rider exclaimed, as one 
inspired, "This is our place, if Almighty Allah please!" 
Descending from Al-Kaswa, he recited, "O Lord, 
cause me to alight a good Alighting, and Thou art the 
Best of those who cause to alight ! " Presently the camel 
rose unaided, advanced a few steps, and then, according 
to some, returning, sat down upon her former seat ; 
according to others, she knelt at the door of Abu Ayyub 
al-Ansari, whose abode in those days was the nearest to 
the halting-place. The descendant of the Jewish High 
Priest in the time of the Tobbas, with the Apostle's per- 
mission, took the baggage off the camel, and carried it 
into his .house. Then ensued great rejoicings. The 
Abyssinians came and played with their spears. The 

1 The distance from Kuba to Al-Madinah is little more than 
three miles, for which six hours — Friday prayers being about noon — 
may be considered an inordinately long time. But our author 
might urge as a reason that the multitude of people upon a narrow- 
road rendered the Prophet's advance a slow one, and some historians 
relate that he spent several hours in conversation with the Benu 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 357 

maidens of the Benu Najjar tribe sang and beat their 
kettle-drums. And all the wives of the Ansar celebrated 
with shrill cries of joy the auspicious event; whilst the 
males, young and old, freemen and slaves, shouted with 
effusion, "Allah's Messenger is come! Allah's Messenger 
is here!" 

Mohammed caused Abu Ayyub and his wife to 
remove into the upper story, contenting himself with the 
humbler lower rooms. This was done for the greater 
convenience of receiving visitors without troubling the 
family ; but the master of the house was thereby rendered 
uncomfortable in mind. His various remarks about the 
Apostle's diet and domestic habits, especially his avoiding 
leeks, onions, and garlic, 1 are gravely chronicled by Moslem 

After spending seven months, more or less, at the 
house of Abu Ayyub, Mohammed, now surrounded by his 
wives and family, built, close to the Mosque, huts for 
their reception. The ground was sold to him by Sahal 
and Suhayl, two orphans of the Benu Najjar, 2 a noble 
family of the Khazraj. Some time afterwards one Harisat 
bin al-Nu'uman presented to the Prophet all his houses in 
the vicinity of the temple. In those days the habitations 
of the Arabs were made of a framework of Jarid or palm 
sticks, covered over with a cloth of camel's hair, a curtain 
of similar stuff forming the door. The more splendid had 
walls of unbaked brick, and roofs of palm fronds plastered 

1 Mohammed never would eat these strong smelling vegetables on 
account of his converse with the angels, even as modern "Spirit- 
ualists" refuse to smoke tobacco; at the same time he allowed his 
followers to do so, except when appearing in his presence, entering 
a Mosque, or joining in public prayers. The pious Moslem still eats 
his onions with these limitations. Some sects, however, as the Wah- 
habis, considering them abominable, avoid them on all occasions. 

2 The name of the tribe literally means " sons of a carpenter " ; 
hence the error of the learned and violent Humphrey Prideaux, cor- 
rected by Sale. 

358 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

over with mud or clay. Of this description were the 
abodes of Mohammed's family. Most of them were built 
on the North and East of the Mosque, which had open 
ground on the Western side ; and the doors looked towards 
the place of prayer. In course of time, all, except 
Abu Bakr 1 and Ali, were ordered to close their doors, and 
even Omar was refused the favour of having a window 
opening into the temple. 

Presently the Jews of Al-Madinah, offended by the 
conduct of Abdullah bin Salam, their most learned priest 
and a descendant from the Patriarch Joseph, who had 
become a convert to the Moslem dispensation, began to 
plot against Mohammed. 2 They were headed by Hajj bin 
Akhtah, and his brother Yasir bin Akhtah, and were 
joined by many of the Aus and the Khazraj. The events 
that followed this combination of the Munafikun, or 
Hypocrites, under their chief, Abdullah, belong to the 
domain of Arabian history. 3 

Mohammed spent the last ten years of his life at Al- 
Madinah. He died on Monday, some say at nine a.m., 
others at noon, others a little after, on the twelfth of Rabia 
al-Awwal in the eleventh year of the Hijrah. When his 
family and companions debated where he should be buried, 
Ali advised Al-Madinah, and Abu Bakr, Ayishah's cham- 

1 Some say that Abu Bakr had no abode near the Mosque. But 
it is generally agreed upon, that he had many houses, one in Al-Bakia, 
another in the higher parts of Al-Madinah, and among them a hut on 
the spot between the present gates called Salam and Rahmah. 

2 It is clear from the fact above stated, that in those days the 
Tews of Arabia were in a state of excitement, hourly expecting the 
advent of their Messiah, and that Mohammed believed himself to be 
the person appointed to complete the law of Moses. 

3 In many minor details the above differs from the received 
accounts of Pre-Islamitic and early Mohammedan history. Let the 
blame be borne by the learned Shaykh Abd al-Hakk al-Muhaddis of 
Delhi, and his compilation, the " Jazb al-Kulub ilaDiyar al-Mahhub 
(the "Drawing of Hearts towards the Holy Parts"). From the multi- 
tude of versions at last comes correctness. 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 359 

ber, quoting a saying of the deceased that prophets and 
martyrs are always interred where they happen to die. 
The Apostle was placed, it is said, under the bed where 
he had given up the ghost, by Ali and the two sons of 
Abbas, who dug the grave. With the life of Mo- 
hammed the interest of Al-Madinah ceases, or rather 
is concentrated in the history of its temple. Since 
then the city has passed through the hands of the 
Caliphs, the Sharifs of Meccah, the Sultans of Con- 
stantinople, the Wahhabis, and the Egyptians. It 
has now reverted to the Sultan, whose government is 
beginning to believe that, in these days when religious 
prestige is of little value, the great Khan's title, " Servant 
of the Holy Shrines," is purchased at too high a price. 
As has before been observed, the Turks now struggle for 
existence in Al-Hijaz with a soldier ever in arrears, and 
officers unequal to the task of managing an unruly people. 
The pensions are but partly paid, 1 and they are not likely 
to increase with years. It is probably a mere considera- 
tion of interest that prevents the people rising en masse, 

1 A Firman from the Porte, dated 13th February, 1841, provides 
for the paying of these pensions regularly. " It being customary to 
send every year from Egypt provisions in kind to the two Holy Cities, 
the provisions and other articles, whatever they may be, which have 
up to this time been sent to this place, shall continue to be sent 
thither." Formerly the Holy Land had immense property in Egypt, 
and indeed in all parts of Al-Islam. About thirty years ago, Mohammed 
Ali Pasha bought up all the Wakf (church property), agreeing to pay 
for its produce, which he rated at five piastres the ardeb, when it 
was worth three times as much. Even that was not regularly paid. 
The Sultan has taken advantage of the present crisis to put down 
Wakf in Turkey. The Holy Land, therefore, will gradually lose all 
its land and house property, and will soon be compelled to depend 
entirely upon the presents of the pilgrims, and the Sadakah, or alms, 
which are still sent to it by the pious Moslems of distant regions. As 
might be supposed, both the Meccans and the Madani loudly bewail 
their hard fates, and by no means approve of the Ikram, the modern 
succedaneum for an extensive and regularly paid revenue. At a 
future time, I shall recur to this subject. 

360 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

and re-asserting the liberties of their country. And I have 
heard from authentic sources that the Wahhabis look 
forward to the day when a fresh crusade will enable them 
to purge the land of its abominations in the shape of 
silver and gold. 

The Masjid al-Nabi, or Prophet's Mosque, is the 
second in Al- Islam in point of seniority, and the second, 
or, according to others, the first in dignity, ranking with 
the Ka'abah itself. It is erected around the spot where 
the she-camel, Al-Kaswa, knelt down by the order of 
Heaven. At that time the land was a palm grove and a 
Mirbad, or place where dates are dried. Mohammed, 
ordered to erect a place of worship there, sent for the 
youths to whom it belonged, and certain Ansar, or 
Auxiliaries, their guardians ; the ground was offered to him 
in free gift, but he insisted upon purchasing it, paying more 
than its value. Having caused the soil to be levelled and 
the trees to be felled, he laid the foundation of the first 

In those times of primitive simplicity its walls were 
made of rough stone and unbaked bricks : trunks of date- 
trees supported a palm-stick roof, concerning which the 
Archangel Gabriel delivered an order that it should not 
be higher than seven cubits, the elevation of Moses's 
temple. All ornament was strictly forbidden. The 
Ansar, or men of Al-Madinah, and the Muhajirin, or 
Fugitives from Meccah, carried the building materials in 
their arms from the cemetery Al-Bakia, near the well of 
Ayyub, north of the spot where Ibrahim's Mosque now 
stands, and the Apostle was to be seen aiding them in 
their labours, and reciting for their encouragement, 
" O Allah! there is no good but the good of futurity, 
Then have mercy upon my Ansar and Muhajirin! " 

The length of this Mosque was fifty-four cubits from North 
to South, and sixty-three in breadth, and it was hemmed 
in by houses on all sides save the Western. Till the seven- 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 361 

teenth month of the new aera the congregation faced 
towards the Northern wall. After that time a fresh revela- 
tion turned them in the direction of Meccah, Southwards : 
on which occasion the Archangel Gabriel descended and 
miraculously opened through the hills and wilds a view 
of the Ka'abah, that there might be no difficulty in ascer- 
taining its true position. 

After the capture of Khaybar in a.h. 7, the Prophet 
and his first three successors restored the Mosque, but 
Moslem historians do not consider this a second founda- 
tion. Mohammed laid the first brick, and Abu Hurayrah 
declares that he saw him carry heaps of building materials 
piled up to his breast. The Caliphs, each in the turn of 
his succession, placed a brick close to that laid by the 
Prophet, and aided him in raising the walls. Al-Tabrani 
relates that one of the Ansar had a house adjacent which 
Mohammed wished to make part of the place of prayer ; 
the proprietor was promised in exchange for it a home 
in Paradise, which he gently rejected, pleading poverty. 
His excuse was admitted, and Osman, after purchasing 
the place for ten thousand dirhams, gave it to the Apostle 
on the long credit originally offered. 

This Mosque was a square of a hundred cubits. 
Like the former building, it had three doors : one on the 
South side, where the Mihrab al-Nabawi, or the "Proph- 
et's Niche," now is; another in the place of the present 
Bab al-Rahmah; and the third at the Bab Osman, now 
called the Gate of Gabriel. Instead of a Mihrab or 
prayer-niche, 1 a large block of stone directed the congre- 
gation ; at first it was placed against the Northern wall 

1 The prayer-niche and the minaret both date their existence 
from the days of Al-Walid, the builder of the third Mosque. At this 
age of their empire, the Moslems had travelled far and had seen art 
in various lands ; it is therefore not without a shadow of reason that 
the Hindus charge them with having borrowed their two favourite 
symbols, and transformed them into an arch and a tower. 

362 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

of the Mosque, and it was removed to the Southern when 
Meccah became the Kiblah. 

In the beginning the Prophet, whilst preaching the 
Khutbah or Friday sermon, leaned when fatigued against 
a post. 1 The Mambar, 2 or pulpit, was the invention of a 
Madinah man, of the Benu Najjar. It was a wooden 
frame, two cubits long by one broad, with three steps, 
each one span high ; on the topmost of these the Prophet 
sat when he required rest. The pulpit assumed its pres- 
ent form about a.h. 90, during the artistic reign of Al- 

In this Mosque Mohammed spent the greater part of 
the day 3 with his companions, conversing, instructing, and 

1 The Ustawanat al-Hannanah, or "Weeping-Post." See page 
335, chapter XVI., ante. 

2 As usual, there are doubts about the invention of this article. 
It was covered with cloth by the Caliph Osman, or, as others 
say, by Al-Mu'awiyah, who, deterred by a solar eclipse from 
carrying out his project of removing it to Damascus, placed it upon 
a new framework, elevated six steps above the ground. Al-Mahdi 
wished to raise the Mambar six steps higher, but was forbidden so 
to do by the Imam Malik. The Abbasides changed the pulpit, and 
converted the Prophet's original seat into combs, which were pre- 
served as relics. Some historians declare that the original Mam- 
bar was burnt with the Mosque in a.h. 654. In Ibn Jubayr's time 
(a.h. 580), it was customary for visitors to place their right 
hands upon a bit of old wood, inserted into one of the pillars 
of the pulpit; this was supposed to be a remnant of the "weep- 
ing-post." Every Sultan added some ornament to the Mam- 
bar, and at one time it was made of white marble, covered over with 
a dome of the "eight metals." It is now a handsome structure, 
apparently of wood, painted and gilt of the usual elegant form, 
which has been compared by some travellers with the suggesta of 
Roman Catholic churches. I have been explicit about this pulpit, 
hoping that, next time the knotty question of Apostolic seats comes 
upon the tapis, our popular authors will not confound a Curule chair 
with a Moslem Mambar. Of the latter article, Lane (Mod. 
Egyptians, chap, iii.) gave a sketch in the " Interior of a Mosque." 

3 The Prophet is said to have had a dwelling-house in the 
Ambariyah, or the Western quarter of the Manakhah suburb, and 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 363 

comforting the poor. Hard by were the abodes of his 
wives, his family, and his principal friends. Here he 
prayed, at the call of the Azan, or devotion-cry, from the 
roof. Here he received worldly envoys and embassies, 
and the heavenly messages conveyed by the Archangel 
Gabriel. And within a few yards of the hallowed spot, 
he died, and found a grave. 

The theatre of events so important to Al-Islam could 
not be allowed — especially as no divine decree forbade 
the change — to remain in its pristine lowliness. The first 
Caliph contented himself with merely restoring some of 
the palm pillars, which had fallen to the ground : Omar, 
the second successor, surrounded the Hujrah, or Ayishah's 
chamber, in which the Prophet was buried, with a mud 
wall; and in a.h. 17, he enlarged the Mosque to 140 
cubits by 120, taking in ground on all sides except the 
Eastern, where stood the abodes of the "Mothers of the 
Moslems. 1 " Outside the Northern wall he erected a 
Suffah, called Al-Batha — a raised bench of wood, earth, 
or stone, upon which the people might recreate them- 
selves with conversation and quoting poetry, for the 
Mosque was now becoming place of peculiar reverence 
to men. 2 

The second Masjid was erected a.h. 29, by the third 
Caliph, Osman, who, regardless of the clamours of the 
people, overthrew the old walls and extended the building 

here, according to some, he lodged Mariyah, the Coptic girl. As 
pilgrims do not usually visit the place, and nothing of the original 
building can be now remaining, I did not trouble myself about it. 

1 Meaning the Prophet's fifteen to twenty-five wives. Their 
number is not settled. He left nine wives and two concubines. It 
was this title after the Koranic order (chap, xxxiii. v. 53) which 
rendered their widowhood eternal ; no Arab would willingly marry 
a woman whom he has called mother or sister. 

2 Authors mention a place outside the Northern wall called Al- 
Suffah, which was assigned by Mohammed as a habitation to 
houseless believers ; from which circumstance these paupers derived 
the title of Ashab al-Suffah, "Companions of the Sofa." 

364 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

greatly towards the North, and a little towards the West ; 
but he did not remove the Eastern limit on account of 
the private houses. He made the roof of Indian teak, 1 
and the walls of hewn and carved stone. These 
innovations caused some excitement, which he allayed 
by quoting a tradition of the Prophet, with one of which 
he appears perpetually to have been prepared. The 
saying in question was, according to some, "Were this my 
Mosque extended to Safa" — a hill in Meccah — " it verily 
would still be my Mosque"; according to others, "Were 
the Prophet's Mosque extended to Zu'l Halifah 2 it would 
still be his." But Osman's skill in the quotation of tra- 
dition did not prevent the new building being in part a 
cause of his death. It was finished on the first Muharram, 

A.H. 30. 

At length, Al-Islam, grown splendid and powerful, 
determined to surpass other nations in the magnificence 
of its public buildings. 3 In a.h. 88, Al-Walid 4 the First, 
twelfth Caliph of the Benu Ummayah race, after build- 
ing, or rather restoring, the noble "Jami' al-Ammawi" 
(cathedral of the Ommiades) at Damascus, determined to 

1 So I translate the Arabicised word "Saj." 

2 A place about five miles from Al-Madinah, on the Meccan way. 
See Chap. XIV. 

3 And curious to say Al-Islam still has the largest cathedral 
in the world— St. Sophia's at Constantinople. Next to this ranks 
St. Peter's at Rome; thirdly, I believe, the " Jumma Masjid," or 
cathedral of the old Moslem city Bijapur in India ; the fourth is St. 
Paul's, London, 

4 It is to this monarch that the Saracenic Mosque-architecture 
mainly owes its present form. As will be seen, he had every advan- 
tage of borrowing from Christian, Persian, and even Indian art. 
From the first he took the dome, from the second the cloister — it 
might have been naturalised in Arabia before his time — and possibly 
from the third the minaret and the prayer-niche. The latter appears 
to be a peculiarly Hindu feature in sacred buildings, intended to con- 
tain the idol, and to support the lamps, flowers, and other offerings 
placed before it. 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 365 

display his liberality at Al-Madinah. The governer of 
the place, Umar bin Abd Al-Aziz, was directed to buy 
for seven thousand Dinars (ducats) all the hovels of raw 
brick that hedged in the Eastern side of the old Mosque. 
They were inhabited by descendants of the Prophet and 
of the early Caliphs, and in more than one case, the 
ejection of the holy tenantry was effected with consider- 
able difficulty. Some of the women — ever the most 
obstinate on such occasions — refused to take money, and 
Omar was forced to the objectionable measure of turning 
them out of doors with exposed faces 1 in full day. The 
Greek Emperor, applied to by the magnificent Caliph, 
sent immense presents, silver lamp chains, valuable curi- 
osities, 2 forty loads of small cut stones for pietra-dura, and 
a sum of eighty thousand Dinars, or, as others say, 
forty thousand Miskals of gold. He also despatched 
forty Coptic and forty Greek artists to carve the marble 
pillars and the casings of the walls, and to superintend 
the gilding and the mosaic work. One of these Christians 
was beheaded for sculpturing a hog on the Kiblah wall ; 
and another, in an attempt to defile the roof, fell to the 
ground, and his brains were da'shed out. The remainder 
Islamized, but this did not prevent the older Arabs mur- 
muring that their Mosque had been turned into a Kanisah, 
a Christian idol-house. 

The Hujrah, or chamber, where, by Mohammed's 
permission, Azrail, the Angel of Death, separated his 

1 The reader will remember that in the sixth year of the Hijrah, 
after Mohammed's marriage with Zaynab, his wives were secluded 
behind the Hijab, Pardah, or curtain. A verse of the Koran directed 
the Moslems to converse with them behind this veil . Hence the general 
practice of Al-Islam : now it is considered highly disgraceful in any 
Moslem to make a Moslemah expose her face, and she will frequently 
found a threat upon the prejudice. A battle has been prevented by 
this means, and occasionally an insurrection has been caused by it. 

2 Amongst which some authors enumerate the goblet and the 
mirror of Kisra. 

366 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

soul from his body, whilst his head was lying in the lap 
of Ayishah, his favourite wife, was now for the first time 
taken into the Mosque. The raw-brick enceinte ' which 
surrounded the three graves was exchanged for one of 
carved stone, enclosed by an outer precinct with a nar- 
row passage between. 2 These double walls were either 
without a door, or had only a small blocked-up wicket on 
the Northern side, and from that day (a.h. 90), no one, 
says Al-Samanhudi, has been able to approach the 
sepulchre. 3 A minaret was erected at each corner of the 
Mosque. 4 The building was enlarged to 200 cubits by 
167, and was finished in a.h. 91. When Al-Walid, the 
Caliph, visited it in state, he inquired of his lieutenant 
why greater magnificence had not been displayed in the 
erection ; upon which Omar, the governor, informed him, 

1 The outer wall, built by Al-Walid, remained till a.h. 550, when 
Jamal al-Din of Isafahan, Wazir to Nur al-Din Shahid Mahmud bin 
Zangi, supplied its place by a grating of open sandal woodwork, or, 
as others say, of iron. About the same time, Sayyid Abu '1 Hayja 
sent from Egypt a sheet of white brocade, embroidered in red silk 
with the chapter Y. S., in order to cover the inner wall. This was 
mounted on the accession of Al-Mustazi bi'llah, the Caliph, after 
which it became the custom for every Sultan to renew the offering. 
And in a.h. 688, Kalaun of Egypt built the outer network of brass 
as it now is, and surmounted it with the Green Dome. 

2 The inner wall, erected by Al-Walid, seems to have resisted the 
fire which in a.h. 654 burnt the Mosque to the ground. Also, in a.h. 
886, when the building was consumed by lightning, the Hujrah was 
spared by the devouring element. 

3 After the Prophet's death and burial, Ayishah continued to occupy 
the same room, without even a curtain between her and the tomb. 
At last, vexed by the crowds of visitors, she partitioned off the hal- 
lowed spot with a wall. She visited the grave unveiled as long as her 
father Abu Bakr only was placed behind the Prophet ; but when 
Omar's corpse was added, she always covered her face. 

4 One of these, the minaret at the Bab-al-Salam ( was soon after- 
wards overthrown by Al-Walid's brother Sulayman, because it shaded 
the house of Marwan, where he lodged during his visit to Al-Madinah 
in the cold season. 

XVII. — History of the Prophefs Mosque. 367 

to his astonishment, that the walls alone had cost forty- 
five thousand ducats. 1 

The fourth Mosque was erected in a.h. 191, by Al- 
Mahdi, third prince of the Benu Abbas or Baghdad 
Caliphs — celebrated in history only for spending enor- 
mous sums upon a pilgrimage. He enlarged the building 
by adding ten handsome pillars of carved marble, with 
gilt capitals, on the Northern side. In a.h. 202, Al- 
Ma'amun made further additions to this Mosque. It was 
from Al-Mahdi's Masjid that Al-Hakim bi 'Amri 'llah, the 
third Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, and the deity of the 
Druze sect, determined to steal the bodies of the Prophet 
and his two companions. About a.h. 412, he sent emis- 
saries to Al-Madinah: the attempt, however, failed, and 
the would-be violators of the tomb lost their lives. It 
is generally supposed that Al-Hakim's object was to 
transfer the Visitation to his own capital; but in one so 
manifestly insane it is difficult to discover the spring of 
action. Two Christians, habited like Maghrabi pilgrims, 
in a. h. 550, dug a mine from a neighbouring house into the 
temple. They were discovered, beheaded, and burned to 
ashes. In relating these events the Moslem historians 
mix up many foolish preternaturalisms with credible 
matter. At last, to prevent a recurrence of such sacri- 
legious attempts, Al- Malik al-Adil Nur al-Din of the 
Baharite Mamluk Sultans, or, according to others, Sultan 
Nur al-Din Shahid Mahmud bin Zangi, who, warned by 
a vision of the Apostle, had started for Al-Madinah only 
in time to discover the two Christians, surrounded the 
holy place with a deep trench filled with molten lead. 
By this means Abu Bakr and Omar, who had run con- 
siderable risks of their own, have ever since been enabled 
to occupy their last homes undisturbed. 

In a. h. 654, the fifth Mosque was erected in conse- 
quence of a fire, which some authors attribute to a 

1 The dinar (denarius) was a gold piece, a ducat, a sequin. 

368 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

volcano that broke out close to the town in terrible 
eruption 1 ; others, with more fanaticism and less proba- 
bility, to the schismatic Benu Husayn, then the guardians 
of the tomb. On this occasion the Hujrah was saved, 
together with the old and venerable copies of the Koran 
there deposited, especially the Cufic MSS., written by 
Osman, the third Caliph. The piety of three sovereigns, 
Al-Mustasim (last Caliph of Baghdad), Al-Muzaffar 
Shems al-Din Yusuf, chief of Al-Yaman, and Al-Zahir 
Beybars, Baharite Sultan of Egypt, completed the work 
in a.h. 688. This building was enlarged and beautified 
by the princes of Egypt, and lasted upwards of two 
hundred years. 

The sixth Mosque was built, almost as it now stands, 
by Kaid-Bey, nineteenth Sultan of the Circassian Mam- 
luk kings of Egypt, in a.h. 888: it is now therefore more 
than four centuries old. Al-Mustasim's Mosque had 
been struck by lightning during a storm ; thirteen men 
were killed at prayers, and the destroying element spared 
nothing but the interior of the Hujrah. 2 The railing and 
dome were restored ; niches and a pulpit were sent from 
Cairo, and the gates and minarets were distributed as 
they are now. Not content with this, Kaid-Bey estab- 
lished "Wakf " (bequests) and pensions, and introduced 
order among the attendants on the tomb. In the tenth 
century, Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent paved with 
fine white marble the Rauzah or garden, which Kaid-Bey, 
not daring to alter, had left of earth, and erected the fine 
minaret that bears his name. 

1 I purpose to touch upon this event in a future chapter, when 
describing my route from Al-Madinah to Meccah. 

2 "On this occasion," says Al-Samanhudi, quoted by Burckhardt, 
"the interior of the Hujrah was cleared, and three deep graves were 
found in the inside, full of rubbish, but the author of this history, 
who himself entered it, saw no traces of tombs." Yet in another 
place he, an eye-witness, had declared that the coffin containing the 
dust of Mohammed was cased with silver. I repeat these details. 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 369 

During the dominion of the later Sultans, and of 
Mohammed Ali, a few trifling presents, of lamps, carpets, 
wax candles and chandeliers, and a few immaterial altera- 
tions, have been made. The present head of Al-Islamis, 
as I have before said, rebuilding one of the minarets and 
the Northern colonnade of the temple. 

Such is the history of the Mosque's prosperity. 

During the siege of Al-Madinah by the Wahhabis, 1 
the principal people seized and divided amongst them- 
selves the treasures of the tomb, which must have been 
considerable. When the town surrendered, Sa'ud, accom- 
panied by his principal officers, entered the Hujrah, but, 
terrified by dreams, he did not penetrate behind the 
curtain, or attempt to see the tomb. He plundered, 
however, the treasures in the passage, the " Kaukab al- 
Durri 2 " (or pearl star), and the ornaments sent as presents 
from every part of Al- Islam. Part of these he sold, it is 
said, for 150,000 Riyals (dollars), to Ghalib, Sharif of 
Meccah, and the rest he carried with him to Daraiyah, his 
capital. 3 An accident prevented any further desecration of 
the building. The greedy Wahha«bis, allured by the appear- 
ance of the golden or gilt globes and crescents surmounting 
the green dome, attempted to throw down the latter. 
Two of their number, it is said, were killed by falling 

1 Burckhardt has given a full account of this event in his history 
of the Wahhabis. 

2 See Chapter XVI., ante. 

3 My predecessor estimates the whole treasury in those days to 
have been worth 300,000 Riyals, — a small sum, if we consider the 
length of time during which it was accumulating. The chiefs of the 
town appropriated 1 cwt. of golden vessels, worth at most 50,000 
dollars, and Sa'ud sold part of the plunder to Ghalib for 100,000 
(I was told one-third more), reserving for himself about the same 
amount of pearls and corals. Burckhardt supposes that the governors 
of Al-Madinah, who were often independent chiefs, and sometimes 
guardians of the tombs, made occasional draughts upon the generosity 
of the Faithful. 

VOL. I. 24 

37° Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

from the slippery roof, 1 and the rest, struck by superstitious 
fears, abandoned the work of destruction. They injured, 
however, the prosperity of the place by taxing the 
inhabitants, by interrupting the annual remittances, and 
by forbidding visitors to approach the tomb. They are 
spoken of with abhorrence by the people, who quote a 
peculiarly bad trait in their characters, namely, that in 
return for any small religious assistance of prayer or 
recitation, they were in the habit of giving a few grains 
of gunpowder, or something equally valuable, instead of 
" stone-dollars. 2 " 

When Abdullah, son of Sa'ud, had concluded in a.d. 
i 815 a treaty of peace with Tussun Pasha, the Egyptian 
General bought back from the townspeople, for 10,000 
Riyals, all the golden vessels that had not been melted 
down, and restored the treasure to its original place. 
This I have heard denied ; at the same time it rests upon 
credible evidence. Amongst Orientals the events of the 
last generation are, usually speaking, imperfectly remem- 
bered, and the Olema are well acquainted with the history 
of vicissitudes which took place 1200 years ago, when 
profoundly ignorant of what their grandfathers witnessed. 
Many incredible tales also I heard concerning the present 
wealth of the Al-Madinah Mosque : this must be expected 
when the exaggeration is considered likely to confer 
honour upon the exaggerator. 

The establishment attached to the Al-Madinah 
Mosque is greatly altered since Burckhardt's time, 3 the 
result of the increasing influence of the Turkish half- 

1 I inquired in vain about the substance that covered the dome. 
Some told me it was tinfoil ; others supposed it to be rivetted with 
green tiles. 

2 The Badawi calls a sound dollar " Kirsh Hajar," or "Rival 
Hajar," a " stone dollar." 

3 At the same time his account is still carefully copied by our 
popular and general authors, who, it is presumed, could easily become 
better informed. 

24 2 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque, 371 

breeds. It is still extensive, because in the first place the 
principle of divided labour is a favourite throughout the 
East, and secondly because the Sons of the Holy Cities 
naturally desire to extract as much as they can from the 
Sons of other cities with the least amount of work. The 
substance of the following account was given to me by 
Omar Effendi, and I compared it with the information of 
others upon whom I could rely. 

The principal of the Mosque, or Shaykh al-Harim, 
is no longer a neuter. 1 The present is a Turkish Pasha, 
Osman, appointed from Constantinople with a salary of 
about 30,000 piastres a month. His Naib or deputy is a 
black eunuch, the chief of the Aghawat, 2 upon a pay of 
5000 piastres. The present principal of this college is 
one Tayfur Agha, a slave of Esma Sultanah, sister to the 
late Sultan Mahmud. The chief treasurer is called the 
Mudi.r al-Harim ; he keeps an eye upon the Khaznadar, 
or treasurer, whose salary is 2000 piastres. The Mustas- 
lim is the chief of the Katibs, or writers who settle the 

1 The Persians in remote times, as we learn from Herodotus (lib. 
6), were waited upon by eunuchs, and some attribute to them the 
invention. Ammianus Marcellinus (lib. 14) ascribes the origin to 
Semiramis. In Al-Islam, the employment of such persons about the 
Mosque is a " Bida'ah " or custom unknown in the time of the Pro- 
phet. It is said to have arisen from the following three considera- 
tions : 1. These people are concentrated in their professions ; 2. They 
must see and touch strange women at the shrines; and 3. The 
shrines are " Harim," or sacred, having adyta which are kept secret 
from the prying eyes of men, and, therefore, should be served by 
eunuchs. It is strange that the Roman Catholic church, as well as 
the Moslem Mosque, should have admitted such an abomination. 

2 One of these gentry, if called " Tawashi,"— his generic name,— - 
would certainly insult a stranger. The polite form of address to one 
of them is "Agha" — Master, — in the plural "Aghawat." In partibus, 
they exact the greatest respect from men, and the title of the Eunuch 
of the Tomb is worth a considerable sum to them. The eunuchs of Al- 
Madinah are more numerous and better paid than those of Meccah : 
they are generally the slaves of rich men at Constantinople, and 
prefer this city on account of its climate. 

372 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

accounts of the Mosque ; his pay is 1500, and under him 
is a Nakib or assistant upon 1000 piastres. There are 
three Shaykhs of the eunuchs who receive from 700 
to 1000 piastres a month each. The eunuchs, about 
a hundred and twenty in number, are divided into 
three orders. The Bawwabin, or porters, open the 
doors of the Mosque. The Khubziyah sweep the purer 
parts of the temple, and the lowest order, popularly 
called "Battalin," clean away all impurities, beat 
those found sleeping, and act as beadles, a duty here 
which involves considerable use of the cane. These men 
receive as perquisites presents from each visitor when 
they offer him the usual congratulation, and for other 
small favours, such as permitting strangers to light the 
lamps, 1 or to sweep the floor. Their pay varies from 250 
to 500 piastres a month : they are looked upon as honour- 
able men, and are, generally speaking, married, some of 
them indulging in three or four wives, — which would have 
aroused Juvenal's bile. The Agha's character is curious 
and exceptional as his outward conformation. Discon- 
nected with humanity, he is cruel, fierce, brave, and 
capable of any villany. His frame is unnaturally long 
and lean, especially the arms and legs, with high 
shoulders, protruding joints, and a face by contrast 
extraordinarily large ; he is unusually expert in the use 
of weapons, and sitting well " home," he rides to admira- 
tion, his hoarse, thick voice investing him with all the 
circumstances of command. 

Besides the eunuchs, there are a number of free ser- 
vants, called Farrashin, attached to the Mosque ; almost 
all the middle and lower class of citizens belong to this 
order. They are divided into parties of thirty each, and 
are changed every week, those on duty receiving a Ghazi 
or twenty-two piastres for their services. Their business 

1 The "Sons of the City," however, are always allowed to do 
such service gratis ; if, indeed, they are not paid for it. 

XVII.— History of the Prophet's Mosque. 373 

is to dust, and to spread the carpets, to put oil and wicks 
into the lamps which the eunuchs let down from the ceil- 
ing, and, generally speaking, diligently to do nothing. 

Finally, the menial establishment of the Mosque con- 
sists of a Shaykh al-Sakka (chief of the water-carriers), 
under whom are from forty-five to fifty men who sprinkle 
the floors, water the garden, and, for a consideration, 
supply a cupful of brackish liquid to visitors. 

The literary establishment is even more extensive 
than the executive and the menial. There is a Kazi, or 
chief judge, sent every year from Constantinople. After 
twelve months at Al-Madinah, he passes on to Meccah, 
and returns home after a similar term of service in the 
second Holy City. Under him are three Muftis, 1 of the 
Hanafi, the Shafe'i, and the Maliki schools ; the fourth, or 
Hanbali, is not represented here or at Cairo. 2 Each of 
these officers receives as pay about two hundred and fifty 
piastres a month. The Ruasa, 3 as the Mu'ezzins (prayer- 
callers) here call themselves, are extensively represented ; 
there are forty-eight or forty-nine of the lowest order, pre- 
sided over by six Kubar or Masters, and these again are 
under the Shaykh al-Ruasa, who alone has the privilege 
of calling to prayers from the Raisiyah minaret. The 
Shaykh receives a hundred and fifty piastres, the chiefs 
about a hundred, and the common criers sixty ; there are 

1 Others told me that there were only two muftis at Al-Madinah, 
namely, those of the Hanafi and Shafe'i schools. If this be true, it 
proves the insignificance of the followers of Malik, which personage, 
like others, is less known in his own town than elsewhere. 

2 The Hanbali school is nowhere common except in Nijd, and 
the lands Eastward as far as Al-Hasa. At present it labours under a 
sort of imputation, being supposed to have thrown out a bad offshoot, 
the Wahhabis. 

3 " Ruasa " is the plural of Rais, a chief or president. It is the 
term generally applied in Arabia to the captain of a vessel, and in Al- 
Yaman it often means a barber, in virtue, I presume, of its root — 
Ras, the head. 

374 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

forty-five Khatibs, who preach and pray before the con- 
gregation on Fridays for a hundred and twenty piastres a 
month ; they are under the Shaykh al-Khutaba. About 
the same sum is given to seventy-five Imams, who recite 
the five ordinary prayers of every day in the Mosque ; the 
Shaykh al-Aimmat is their superior. 1 

Almost all the citizens of Al-Madinah who have not 
some official charge about the temple qualify themselves 
to act as Muzawwirs. They begin as boys to learn the 
formula of prayer, and the conducting of visitors ; and 
partly by begging, partly by boldness, they often pick up 
a tolerable livelihood at an early age. The Muzawwir will 
often receive strangers into his house, as was done to me, 
and direct their devotions during the whole time of their 
stay. For such service he requires a sum of money pro- 
portioned to his guests' circumstances, but this fee does 
not end the connexion. If the Muzawwir visit the home 
of his Zair, he expects to be treated with the utmost hos- 
pitality, and to depart with a handsome present. A reli- 
gious visitor will often transmit to his cicerone at Meccah 
and at Al-Madinah yearly sums to purchase for himself a 
prayer at the Ka'abah and the Prophet's Tomb. The 
remittance is usually wrapped up in paper, and placed in 
a sealed leathern bag, somewhat like a portfolio, upon 
which is worked the name of the person entitled to receive 
it. It is then given in charge either to a trustworthy 
pilgrim, or to the public treasurer, who accompanies the 
principal caravans. 

I could procure no exact information about the amount 
of money forwarded every year from Constantinople and 
Cairo to Al-Madinah ; the only point upon which men 
seemed to agree was that they were defrauded of half their 
dues. When the Sadaka and Aukaf (the alms and bequests) 
arrive at the town, they are committed by the Surrah, or 

i Some say that the Egyptian distinction between the Imam 
Khatib and the Imam Ratib does not obtain at Al-Madinah. 

XVII. — History of the Prophet's Mosque. 375 

financier of the caravan, to the Muftis, the chief of the 
Khatibs, and the Kazi's clerk. These officers form a com- 
mittee, and after reckoning the total of the families entitled 
to pensions, divide the money amongst them, according to 
the number in each household, and the rank of the pen- 
sioners. They are divided into five orders : — 

The Olema, or learned, and the Mudarrisin, who pro- 
fess, lecture, or teach adults in the Harim. 

The Imams and Khatibs. 

The descendants of the Prophet. 

The Fukaha, poor divines, pedadogues, gerund- 
grinders, who teach boys to read the Koran. 

The Awam, or nobile vulgus of the Holy City, including 
the Ahali, or burghers of the town, and the Mujawirin, or 
those settled in the place. 

Omar Effendi belonged to the second order, and he 
informed me that his share varied from three to fifteen 
Riyals per annum. 




It is equally difficult to define, politically and geo- 
graphically, the limits of Al-Hijaz. Whilst some authors, 
as Abulfeda, 1 fix its Northern frontier at Aylah (Fort Al- 
'Akabah) and the Desert, making Al-Yaman its Southern 
limit, others include in it only the tract of land lying 
between Meccah and Al-Madinah. The country has no 
natural boundaries, and its political limits change with 
every generation ; perhaps, therefore, the best distribution 
of its frontier would be that which includes all the property 
called Holy Land, making Yambu' the Northern, and Jed- 
dah the Southern extremes, while a line drawn through Al- 
Madinah, Suwayrkiyah, and Jabal Kora — the mountain of 
Taif — might represent its Eastern boundary. Thus Al- 
Hijaz would be an irregular parallelogram, about two 
hundred and fifty miles in length, with a maximum 
breadth of one hundred and fifty miles. 

Two meanings are assigned to the name of this 
venerated region. Most authorities make it mean the 
" Separator," the "Barrier," between Nijd and Tahamah, 2 
or between Al-Yaman and Syria. According to others, it 
signifies the " colligated," i.e. by mountains. It is to be 
observed that the people of the country, especially the 
Badawin, distinguish the lowlands from the high regions 

i To the East he limits Al-Hijaz by Yamamah (which some include 
in it), Nijd, and the Syrian desert, and to the West by the Red Sea. 
The Greeks, not without reason, included it in their Arabia Petrasa. 
Niebuhr places the Southern boundary at Hali, a little town south 
of Kunfudah (Gonfoda). Captain Head (Journey from India to Europe) 
makes the village Al-Kasr, opposite the Island of Kotambul, the limit 
of Al-Hijaz to the South. 

2 Or, according to others, between Al-Yaman and Syria. 

X VI II. —A l-Madinah . 377 

by different names ; the former are called Tahamat al- 
Hijaz — the sea coast of Al-Hijaz, as we should say in 
India, "below the Ghauts;" the latter is known peculiarly 
as Al-Hijaz. 1 

Madinat al-Nabi, 2 the Prophet's City, or, as it is 

1 If you ask a Badawi near Meccah, whence his fruit comes, he 
will reply "min Al-Hijaz," "from the Hijaz," meaning from the 
mountainous part of the country about Taif. This would be an 
argument in favour of those who make the word to signify a " place 
tied together," (by mountains). It is notorious that the Badawin are 
the people who best preserve the use of old and disputed words ; for 
which reason they were constantly referred to by the learned in the 
palmy days of Moslem philology. " Al-Hijaz," also, in this signifi- 
cation, well describes the country, a succession of ridges and mountain 
chains ; whereas such a name as "the barrier" would appear to be 
rather the work of some geographer in his study. Thus Al-Nijd was 
so called from its high and open lands, and, briefly, in this part of 
the world, names are most frequently derived from some physical and 
material peculiarity of soil or climate. 

2 Amongst a people, who, like the Arabs or the Spaniards, hold 
a plurality of names to be a sign of dignity, so illustrious a spot as 
Al-Madinah could not fail to be rich in nomenclature. A Hadis 
declares, "to Al-Madinah belong ten names": books, however, 
enumerate nearly a hundred, of which a few will suffice as a speci- 
men. Tabah, Tibah, Taibah, Tayyibah, and Mutayyibah, (from the 
root "Tib," "good," "sweet," or "lawful,") allude to the physical excel- 
lencies of Al-Madinah as regards climate — the perfume of the 
Prophet's tomb, and of the red rose, which was a thorn before it blos- 
somed by the sweat of his brow — and to its being free from all moral 
impurity, such as the presence of Infidels, or worshippers of idols. 
Mohammed declared that he was ordered by Allah to change the name 
of the place to Tabah, from Yasrib or Asrib. The latter, according to 
some, was a proper name of a son of Noah ; others apply it originally 
to a place west of Mount Ohod, not to Al-Madinah itself; and quote 
the plural form of the word, ' ' Asarib, ' ' (" spots abounding in palms and 
fountains,") as a proof that it does not belong exclusively to a person. 
However this may be, the inauspicious signification of Yasrib, whose 
root is " Sarab," (destruction,) and the notorious use of the name by 
the Pagan Arabs, have combined to make it, like the other heathen 
designation, Al-Ghalabah, obsolete, and the pious Moslem who pro- 
nounces the word is careful to purify his mouth by repeating ten 
times the name "Al-Madinah." Barah and Barrah allude to its 

378 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah 

usually called for brevity, Al-Madinah, the City, is situated 
on the borders of Nijd, upon the vast plateau of high land 

obedience and purity ; Hasunah to its beauty ; Khayrah and Khay- 
yarah to its goodness ; Mahabbah, Habibah and Mahbubah, to the 
favour it found in the eyes of the Prophet ; whilst Jabirah, Jabbarah, 
and Jabarah, (from the root Jabr, joining or breaking), at once denote 
its good influence upon the fortunes of the Faithful and its evil effects 
upon the Infidel. *' Al-Iman," (the Faith,) is the name under which 
it is hinted at in the Koran. It is called Shafiyah (the Healer), on 
account of the curative effects of earth found in its neighbourhood ; 
Nasirah, the Saving, and Asimah, the Preserving, because Moham- 
med and his companions were there secure from the fury of their 
foes ; Fazihah, the Detector, from its exposing the Infidel and the 
hypocrite ; Muslimah and Muminah, the Faithful City ; Mubarakah, 
the Blessed ; Mahburah, the Happy ; and Mahturah, the Gifted. 
Mahrusah, the Guarded ; and Mahfuzah, the Preserved, allude to the 
belief that an angel sits in each of its ten main streets, to watch over 
the town, and to prevent " Antichrist " entering therein. " Al- 
Dajjal," as this personage is called, will arise in the East and will 
peregrinate the earth ; but he will be unable to penetrate into Meccah ; 
and on approaching Jabal Ohod, in sight of Al-Madinah, he will turn 
off towards his death-place, Al-Sham (Damascus). In the Taurat or 
Pentateuch, the town is called Mukaddasah, the Holy, or Marhumah 
the Pitied, in allusion to the mission of Mohammed ; Marzukah, the 
Fed, is a favourable augury of plenty to it, and Miskinah, the Poor, 
hints that it is independent of treasure of gold or store of silver to 
keep up its dignity. Al-Makarr, means the Residence or the Place 
of Quiet ; Makinat, the Firmly-fixed, (in the right faith) ; Al-Harim, 
the Sacred or Inviolable ; and, finally, Al-Balad, the Town, and Al- 
Madinah, the City by excellence. So an inhabitant calls himself Al- 
Madani, whilst the natives of other and less-favoured " Madinahs " 
affix Madini to their names. Its titles are Arz-Allah, Allah's Land ; 
Arz al-Hijrah, the Land of Exile ; Akkalat al-Buldan, the Eater of 
Towns ; and Akkalat al-Kura, the Eater of Villages, on account of 
its superiority, even as Meccah is entitled Umm al-Kura, the Mother 
of Villages ; Bayt Rasul Allah, House of Allah's Prophet ; Jazirat al- 
Arab, Isle of the Arab ; and Harim Rasul Allah, the Sanctuary of 
Allah's Prophet. In books and letters it has sometimes the title of 
Madinah Musharrafah, the Exalted; more often that of Madinah 
Munawwarah, the Enlightened — scil. by the lamp of faith and the 
column of light supposed to be based upon the Prophet's tomb. The 
Moslems are not the only people who lay claim to Al-Madinah. 
According to some authors — and the legend is more credible than at 

XVIII. —Al-Madinah. 379 

which forms central Arabia. The limits of the sanctuary 
called the Hudud al-Harim, as defined by the Apostle, 
may still serve to mark out the city's plain. Northwards, 
at a distance of about three miles, is Jabal Ohod, or, 
according to others, Jabal Saur, a hill somewhat beyond 
Ohod ; these are the last ribs of the vast tertiary and 
primitive chine 1 which, extending from Taurus to near 
Aden, and from Aden again to Maskat, fringes the Arabian 
trapezium. To the South-west the plain is bounded by 
ridges of scoriaceous basalt, and by a buttress of rock 
called Jabal Ayr, like Ohod, about three miles distant 
from the town. Westward, according to some authors, 
is the Mosque Zu'1-Halifah. On the East there are no 
natural landmarks, nor even artificial, like the " Ala- 
mayn " at Meccah ; an imaginary line, therefore, is 
drawn, forming an irregular circle of which the town is 
the centre, with a diameter from ten to twelve miles. 
Such is the sanctuary. 2 Geographically considered, the 

first sight it would appear — the old Guebres had in Arabia and Persia 
seven large fire temples, each dedicated to a planet. At " Mahdinah," 
as they pervert the word, was an image of the Moon, wherefore the 
place was originally called the " Religion of the Moon." These 
Guebres, amongst other sacred spots, claim Meccah, where they say 
Saturn and the Moon were conjointly venerated ; Jerusalem, the 
Tomb of Ali at Najaf, that of Hosayn at Kerbela, and others. These 
pretensions of course the Moslems deny with insistance, which does 
not prevent certain symptoms of old and decayed faith peeping out 
in localities where their presence, if duly understood, would be con- 
sidered an abomination. This curious fact is abundantly evident 
in Sind, and I have already alluded to it (History of Sind). 

1 Such is its formation in Al-Hijaz. 

2 Within the sanctuary all Muharramat, or sins, are forbidden ; 
but the several schools advocate different degrees of strictness. The 
Imam Malik, for instance, allows no latrines nearer to Al-Madinah 
than Jabal Ayr, a distance of about three miles. He also forbids 
slaying wild animals, but at the same time he specifies no punish- 
ment for the offence. Some do not allow the felling of trees, 
alleging that the Prophet enjoined their preservation as an ornament 
to the city, and a pleasure to visitors. Al-Khattabi, on the contrary, 
permits people to cut wood, and this is certainly the general practice. 

380 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mcccali. 

plain is bounded, on the East, with a thin line of low 
dark hills, traversed by the Darb al-Sharki, or the " East- 
ern road," through Al-Nijd to Meccah: Southwards, the 
plateau is open, and almost perfectly level as far as the 
eye can see. 

Al-Madinah dates its origin doubtless from ancient 
times, and the cause of its prosperity is evident in the 
abundant supply of water, a necessary generally scarce in 
Arabia. The formation of the plateau is in some places 
salt sand, but usually a white chalk, and a loamy clay, 
which even by the roughest manipulation makes tolerable 
bricks. Lime also abounds. The town is situated upon a 
gently-shelving part of the plain, the lowest portion of 
which, to judge from the versant, is at the southern base 
of Mount Ohod, hence called Al-Safilah, and the highest 
at the Awali, or plains about Kuba, and the East. 

The Southern and South- Eastern walls of the suburb 
are sometimes carried away by violent " Sayl," or tor- 
rents, which, after rain, sweep down from the Western as 

All authors strenuously forbid within the boundaries slaying man 
(except invaders, infidels, and the sacrilegious), drinking spirits, and 
leading an immoral life. As regards the dignity of the sanctuary, 
there is but one opinion ; a number of Hadis testify to its honour, 
praise its people, and threaten dreadful things to those who injure it 
or them. It is certain that on the last day, the Prophet will inter- 
cede for, and aid, all those who die, and are buried, at Al-Madinah. 
Therefore, the Imam Malik made but one pilgrimage to Meccah, 
fearing to leave his bones in any other cemetery but Al-Bakia. 
There is, however, much debate concerning the comparative sanctity 
of Al-Madinah and Meccah. Some say Mohammed preferred the 
former, blessing it as Abraham did Meccah. Moreover, as a tradition 
declares that every man's body is drawn from the dust of the ground 
in which he is buried, Al-Madinah, it is evident, had the honour of 
supplying materials for the Prophet's person. Others, like Omar, 
were uncertain in favour of which city to decide. Others openly 
assert the pre-eminence of Meccah ; the general consensus of Al-Islam 
preferring Al-Madinah to Meccah, save only the Bayt Allah in the 
latter city. This last is a juste-milieu view, by no means in favour with 
the inhabitants of either place. In the meanwhile the Meccans claim 
unlimited superiority over the Madani ; the Madani over the Meccans. 

X VIII. —A l-Madimh. 381 

well as from the Eastern highlands. The water-flow is 
towards Al-Ghabbah, lowlands in the Northern and 
Western hills, a little beyond Mount Ohod. This basin 
receives the drainage of the mountains and the plain ; 
according to some absorbing it, according to others col- 
lecting it till of sufficient volume to flow off to the sea. 
Water, though abundant, is rarely of good quality. 
In the days of the Prophet, the Madani consumed the 
produce of wells, seven of which are still celebrated by the 
people. 1 Historians relate that Omar, the second Caliph, 
provided the town with drinking-water from the Northern 
parts of the plains by means of an aqueduct. The modern 
city is supplied by a source called the Ayn al-Zarka or 
Azure Spring, 2 which arises some say at the foot of Mount 
Ayr, others, with greater probability, in the date-groves 
of Kuba. Its waters were first brought to Al-Madinah 
by Marwan, governor in Al-Mu'awiyah's day. It now 
flows down a subterraneous canal, about thirty feet below 
the surface ; in places the water is exposed to the air, and 

1 These seven wells will be noticed in Chapter XIX., post. 

2 I translate Al-Zarka "azure," although Sir G. Wilkinson 
remarks, apropos of the Bahr al-Azrak, generally translated by us the 
" Blue Nile," that, " when the Arabs wish to say dark or jet black, 
they use the word 'Azrak.' " It is true that Azrak is often applied to 
indeterminate dark hues, but " Aswad," not Azrak, is the opposite to 
Abyaz, " white." Moreover, Al-Zarka in the feminine is applied to 
women with light blue eyes ; this would be no distinctive appellation 
if it signified black eyes, the almost universal colour. Zarka of 
Yamamah is the name of a celebrated heroine in Arab story, and the 
curious reader, who wishes to see how much the West is indebted to 
the East, even for the materials of legend, will do well to peruse her 
short history in Major Price's "Essay," or M. C. de Perceval's 
" Essai," &c, vol. i., p. 101. Both of these writers, however, assert 
that Zarka's eyes, when cut out, were found to contain fibres 
blackened by the use of Kohl, and they attribute to her the invention of 
this pigment. I have often heard the legend from the Arabs, who 
declare that she painted her eyes with " Ismid," a yellow metal, of 
what kind I have never been able to determine, although its name is 
everywhere known. 

382 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

steps lead to it for the convenience of the inhabitants : 
this was the work of Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. 
After passing through the town it turns to the North-west, 
its course being marked by a line of circular walls breast 
high, like the Kariz of Afghanistan, placed at unequal 
distances, and resembling wells : it then loses itself in the 
Nakhil or palm-groves. During my stay at Al-Madinah, 
I always drank this water, which appeared to me, as 
the citizens declared it to be, sweet and wholesome. 1 
There are many wells in the town, as water is found 
at about twenty feet below the surface of the soil : few 
produce anything fit for drinking, some being salt and 
others bitter. As usual in the hilly countries of the 
East, the wide beds and Fiumaras, even in the dry 
season, will supply travellers for a day or two with an 
abundance of water, filtrated through, and, in some cases, 
flowing beneath the sand. 

The climate of the plain is celebrated for a long, and, 
comparatively speaking, a rigorous winter ; a popular 
saying records the opinion of the Apostle " that he who 
patiently endures the cold of Al-Madinah and the heat of 
Meccah, merits a reward in Paradise." Ice is not seen in 
the town, but may frequently be met with, it is said, on 
Jabal Ohod ; fires are lighted in the houses during 
winter, and palsies attack those who at this season im- 
prudently bathe in unwarmed water. The fair com- 
plexions of the people prove that this account of the 
brumal rigours is not exaggerated. Chilly and violent 
winds from the Eastern Desert are much dreaded, and 
though Ohod screens the town on the North and North- 
East, a gap in the mountains to the North-West fills the 

1 Burckhardt confounds the Ayn al-Zarka with the Bir al- 
Khatim, or Kuba well, of whose produce the surplus only mixes 
with it, and he complains loudly of the "detestable water of 
Madinah." But he was ill at the time, otherwise he would not have 
condemned it so strongly after eulogising the salt-bitter produce of 
the Meccan Zemzem. 

XVIII. —Al-Madinah. 383 

air at times with raw and comfortless blasts. The rains 
begin in October, and last with considerable intervals 
through six months ; the clouds, gathered by the hill-tops 
and the trees near the town, discharge themselves with 
violence, and about the equinoxes, thunder-storms are 
common. At such times the Barr al-Manakhah, or the 
open space between the town and the suburbs, is a sheet 
of water, and the land near the Southern and the South- 
Eastern wall of the faubourg becomes a pool. Rain, how- 
ever, is not considered unhealthy here ; and the people, un- 
like the Meccans and the Cairenes, expect it with pleasure, 
because it improves their date-trees and fruit planta- 
tions. 1 In winter it usually rains at night, in spring during 
the morning, and in summer about evening time. This 
is the case throughout Al-Hijaz, as explained by the poet 
Labid in these lines, which describe the desolate site of 
an old encampment : — 

" It (the place) hath been fertilised by the first spring showers of the 
constellations, and hath been swept by 
The incessant torrents of the thunder-clouds, falling in heavy and 

in gentle rains, 
Fiom each night-cloud, and heavily dropping morning-cloud, 
And the even-cloud, whose crashings are re-echoed from around." 
And the European reader will observe that the Arabs 
generally reckon three seasons, including our autumn, in 
their summer. The hot weather at Al-Madinah appeared 
to me as extreme as the hibernal cold is described to be, 
but the air was dry, and the open plain prevented the 
faint and stagnant sultriness which distinguishes Meccah. 
Moreover, though the afternoons were close, the nights 
and the mornings were cool and dewy. At this season 
the citizens sleep on the house-tops, or on the ground 

1 The people of Nijd, as Wallin informs us, believe that the more 
the palms are watered, the more syrup will the fruit produce ; they 
therefore inundate the ground, as often as possible. At Al-Jauf, 
where the date is peculiarly good, the trees are watered regularly 
every third or fourth day. 

384 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

outside their doors. Strangers must follow this example 
with considerable circumspection ; the open air is safe 
in the Desert, but in cities it causes, to the unaccustomed, 
violent catarrhs and febrile affections. 

I collect the following notes upon the diseases and 
medical treatment of the Northern Hijaz. Al-Madinah 
has been visited four times by the Rih al-Asfar 1 (yellow 
wind), or Asiatic Cholera, which is said to have com- 
mitted great ravages, sometimes carrying off whole house- 
holds. In the Rahmat al-Kabirah, the " Great Mercy," 
as the worst attack is piously called, whenever a man 
vomited, he was abandoned to his fate ; before that, he 
was treated with mint, lime-juice, and copious draughts of 
coffee. It is still the boast of Al-Madinah, that the Taun, 
or plague, has never passed her frontier. 2 The Judari, or 
smallpox, appears to be indigenous to the countries 
bordering upon the Red Sea ; we read of it there in the 
earliest works of the Arabs,' 5 and even to the present 
time it sometimes sweeps through Arabia and the Somali 

1 Properly meaning the Yellow Wind or Air. The antiquity of the 
word and its origin are still disputed. 

2 Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. ii.) informs us, that in 
a.d. 1 81 5, when Meccah, Yambu', and Jeddah suffered severely from 
the plague, Al-Madinah and the open country between the two sea- 
ports escaped. 

3 Conjecture, however, goes a little too far when it discovers 
small-pox in the Tayr Ababil, the " swallow birds," which, according 
to the Koran, destroyed the host of Abrahat al-Ashram. Major 
Price (Essay) may be right in making Ababil the plural of Abilah, a 
vesicle ; but it appears to me that the former is an Arabic and the 
latter a Persian word, which have no connection whatever. M. C. de 
Perceval, quoting the Sirat al-Rasul, which says that at that time 
small-pox first appeared in Arabia, ascribes the destruction of the 
host of Al-Yaman to an epidemic and a violent tempest. The strangest 
part of the story is, that although it occurred at Meccah, about two 
months before Mohammed's birth, and, therefore, within the memory 
of many living at the time, the Prophet alludes to it in the Koran as 
a miracle. 

A* VIII.— A l-Madinah . 385 

country with desolating violence. In the town of Al- 
Madinah it is fatal to children, many of whom, however, 
are in these days inoculated 1 : amongst the Badawin, old 
men die of it, but adults are rarely victims, either in the 
City or in the Desert. The nurse closes up the room 
whilst the sun is up, and carefully excludes the night 
air, believing that, as the disease is "hot, 2 " a breath of 
wind will kill the patient. During the hours of darkness, 
a lighted candle or lamp is always placed by the side of 
the bed, or the sufferer would die of madness, brought on 
by evil spirits or fright. Sheep's wool is burnt in the 
sick-room, as death would follow the inhaling of any 
perfume. The only remedy I have heard of is pounded 
Kohl (antimony) drunk in water, and the same is drawn 
along the breadth of the eyelid, to prevent blindness. 
The diet is Adas (lentils), 3 and a peculiar kind of date, 
called Tamr al-Birni. On the twenty-first day the 
patient is washed with salt and tepid water. 

Ophthalmia is rare. 4 In the summer, quotidian and 

1 InAl-Yaman, we are toldbyNiebuhr, a rude form of inoculation — 
the mother pricking the child's arm with a thorn — has been known 
from time immemorial. My Madinah friend assured me that only 
during the last generation, this practice has been introduced amongst 
the Badawin of Al-Hijaz. 

2 Orientals divide their diseases, as they do remedies and articles 
of diet, into hot, cold, and temperate. 

3 This grain is cheaper than rice on the banks of the Nile — a fact 
which enlightened England, now paying a hundred times its value 
for " Revalenta Arabica," apparently ignores. 

4 Herodotus (Euterpe) has two allusions to eye disease, which 
seems to have afflicted the Egyptians from the most ancient times. 
Sesostris the Great died stone-blind ; his successor lost his sight for 
ten years, and the Hermaic books had reason to devote a whole volume 
to ophthalmic disease. But in the old days of idolatry, the hygienic 
and prophylactic practices alluded to by Herodotus, the greater clean- 
liness of the people, and the attention paid to the canals and drainage, 
probably prevented this malarious disease becoming the scourge which 
it is now. The similarity of the soil and the climate of Egypt to those of 
VOL. I. 25 

386 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

tertian fevers (Hummah Salis) are not uncommon, and 
if accompanied by emetism, they are frequently fatal. 

Upper Sind, and the prevalence of the complaint in both countries, 
assist us in investigating the predisposing causes. These are, the nitrous 
and pungent nature of the soil — what the old Greek calls "acrid 
matter exuding from the earth," — and the sudden transition from 
extreme dryness to excessive damp checking the invisible perspiration 
of the circumorbital parts, and flying to an organ which is already 
weakened by the fierce glare of the sun, and the fine dust raised by 
the Khamsin or the Chaliho. Glare and dust alone, seldom cause eye 
disease. Every one knows that ophthalmia is unknown in the Desert, 
and the people of Al-Hijaz, who live in an atmosphere of blaze and 
sand, seldom lose their sight. The Egyptian usually catches ophthal- 
mia in his childhood. It begins with simple conjunctivitis, caused 
by constitutional predisposition, exposure, diet, and allowing the eye 
to be covered with swarms of flies. He neglects the early symptoms, 
and cares the less for being a Cyclops, as the infirmity will most 
probably exempt him from military service. Presently the sane 
organ becomes affected sympathetically. As before, simple disease of 
the conjunctiva passes into purulent ophthalmia. The man, after 
waiting a while, will go to the doctor and show a large cicatrix in 
each eye, the result of an ulcerated cornea. Physic can do nothing 
for him ; he remains blind for life. He is now provided for, either 
by living with his friends, who seldom refuse him a loaf of bread, or 
if industriously inclined, by begging, by acting Mu'ezzin, or by en- 
gaging himself as "Yamaniyah," or chaunter, at funerals. His 
children are thus predisposed to the paternal complaint, and gradually 
the race becomes tender-eyed. Most travellers have observed that 
imported African slaves seldom become blind either in Egypt or in 
Sind. Few Englishmen settled in Egypt lose their sight, except they 
be medical men, who cannot afford time to nurse the early symptoms. 
The use of coffee and of water as beverages has much to do with this. 
In the days of hard drinking our Egyptian army suffered severely, 
and the Austrian army in Tuscany showed how often blindness is 
caused by importing Northern habits into Southern countries. Many 
Europeans in Egypt wash their eyes with cold water, especially after 
walking, and some use once a day a mildly astringent or cooling wash, 
as Goulard's lotion or vinegar and water. They avoid letting flies 
settle upon their eyes, and are of opinion that the evening dews are 
prejudicial, and that sleeping with open windows lays the foundation 
of disease. Generally when leaving a hot room, especially a Nile- 
boat cabin, for the cold damp night air, the more prudent are careful 

25 2 

X VIII. —A l-Madinah. 387 

The attack generally begins with the Naffazah, or cold fit, 
and is followed by Al-Hummah, the hot stage. The 
principal remedies are cooling drinks, such as Sikanjabin 
(oxymel) and syrups. After the fever the face and body 
frequently swell, and indurated lumps appear on the legs 
and stomach. There are also low fevers, called simply 
Hummah ; they are usually treated by burning charms 
in the patient's room. Jaundice and bilious complaints 
are common, and the former is popularly cured in a 
peculiar way. The sick man looks into a pot full of 
water, whilst the exorciser, reciting a certain spell, draws 
the heads of two needles from the patient's ears along his 
eyes, down his face, lastly dipping them into water, which 
at once becomes yellow. Others have " Mirayat," magic 
mirrors, 1 on which the patient looks, and looses the com- 

to bathe and to wipe the eyes and forehead as a preparation for change 
of atmosphere. During my short practice in Egypt I found the 
greatest advantage from the employment of counter-irritants, — 
blisters and Pommade Emetise, — applied to the temples and behind 
the ears. Native practitioners greatly err by confining their patients 
in dark rooms, thereby injuring the general health and laying the 
foundation of chronic disease. They are ignorant that, unless the 
optic nerve be affected, the stimulus of light is beneficial to the eye. 
And the people by their dress favour the effects of glare and dust. 
The Tarbush, no longer surrounded as of old by a huge turband, is 
the least efficient of protectors, and the comparative rarity of 
ophthalmic disease among the women, who wear veils, proves that 
the exposure is one of its co-efficient causes. 

1 This invention dates from the most ancient times, and both in 
the East and in the West has been used by the weird brotherhood to 
produce the appearances of the absent and the dead, to discover 
treasure, to detect thieves, to cure disease, and to learn the secrets of 
the unknown world. The Hindus called it Anjan, and formed it by 
applying lamp-black, made of a certain root, and mixed with oil 
to the palm of a footling child, male or female. The Greeks used oil 
poured into a boy 's hand. Cornelius Agrippa had a crystal mirror, which 
material also served the Counts de Saint Germain and Cagliostro. Dr. 
Dee's " show-stone " was a bit of cannel coal. The modern Sindians 
know the art by the name of Gahno or Vinyano; there, as in 
Southern Persia, ink is rubbed upon the seer's thumb-nail. The 
people of Northern Africa are considered skilful in this science, and I 

388 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

plaint. Dysenteries frequently occur in the fruit season, 
when the greedy Arabs devour all manner of unripe 

have a Maghrabi magic formula for inking the hand of a " boy, a black 
slave girl, a virgin, or a pregnant woman," which differs material!) 
from those generally known. The modern Egyptians call it Zarb al- 
Mandal, and there is scarcely a man in Cairo who does not know 
something about it. In selecting subjects to hold the ink, they 
observe the right hand, and reject all who have not what is called in 
palmistry the " linea media naturalis " straight and deeply cut. 
Even the barbarous Finns look into a glass of brandy, and the natives 
of Australia gaze at a kind of shining stone. Lady Blessington's crystal 
ball is fresh in the memory of the present generation, and most men 
have heard of Electro-Biology and the Cairo magician. Upon this latter 
subject, a vexed one, I must venture a few remarks. In the first 
account of the magician by Mr. Lane, we have a fair and dispassionate 
recital of certain magical, mystical, or mesmeric phenomena, which 
" excited considerable curiosity and interest thoughout the civilised 
world." As usual in such matters, the civilised world was wholly 
ignorant of what was going on at home ; otherwise, in London, Paris, 
and New York, they might have found dozens studying the science. 
But a few years before, Dr. Herklots had described the same practice 
in India, filling three goodly pages ; but he called his work " Qanoon- 
i-Islam," and, consequently, despite its excellencies, it fell still-born 
from the press. Lady H. Stanhope frequently declared " the spell 
by which the face of an absent person is thrown upon a mirror to be 
within the reach of the humblest and most contemptible of magi- 
cians ; " but the civilised world did not care to believe a prophetess. 
All, however, were aroused by Mr. Lane's discovery, and determined 
to decide the question by the ordeal of reason. Accordingly, in a.d. 
1844, Mr. Lane, aided by Lord Nugent and others, discovered that a 
" coarse and stupid fraud " had been perpetrated upon him by Osman 
Effendi, the Scotchman. In 1845, Sir G. Wilkinson remarked of this 
rationalism, " The explanation lately offered, that Osman Effendi was 
in collusion with the magician, is neither fair on him nor satisfactory, 
as he was not present when those cases occurred which were made so 
much of in Europe," and he proposed "leading questions and acci- 
dents " as the word of the riddle. Eothen attributed the whole affair 
to "shots," as schoolboys call them, and ranked success under the 
head of Paley's " tentative miracles." A writer in the Quarterly ex- 
plained them by suggesting the probability of divers (impossible) optical 
combinations, and, lest the part of belief should have been left unre- 
presented, Miss Martineau was enabled to see clear signs of mes- 
meric action, and by the decisive experiment of self, discovered the 

X VIII. —A l-Madinah. 389 

peaches, grapes, and pomegranates. The popular treat- 
ment is by the actual cautery ; the scientific affect the 
use of drastics and astringent simples, and the Bizr 
al-Kutn (cotton-seed), toasted, pounded, and drunk in 
warm water. Almost every one here, as in Egypt, 
suffers more or less from haemorrhoids ; they are treated 
by dietetics — eggs and leeks — and by a variety of drugs, 
Myrobalans, Lisan-al-Hamal (Amoglossum), etc. But the 
patient looks with horror at the scissors and the knife, so 
that they seldom succeed in obtaining a radical cure. The 
Filaria Medinensis, locally called " Farantit," is no longer 
common at the place which gave it its European name. 
At Yambu', however, the people suffer much from the Vena 
appearing in the legs. The complaint is treated here as 
in India and in Abyssinia : when the tumour bursts, and 
the worm shows, it is extracted by being gradually 
wound round a splinter of wood. Hydrophobia is rare, 
and the people have many superstitions about it. They 
suppose that a bit of meat falls from the sky, and that a 
dog eating it becomes mad. I was assured by respectable 
persons, that when a man is bitten, they shut him up 
with food, in a solitary chamber, for four days, and that 
if at the end of that time he still howls like a dog, they 
expel the Ghul (demon) from him, by pouring over him 
boiling water mixed with ashes — a certain cure I can 
easily believe. The only description of leprosy known in 
Al-Hijaz is that called "Al-Baras": it appears in white 
patches on the skin, seldom attacks any but the poorer 
classes, and is considered incurable. Wounds are treated 
by Marham, or ointments, especially by the "Balesan," 
or Balm of Meccah; a cloth is tied round the limb, and 

magic to be an " affair of mesmerism." Melancholy to relate, 
after all this philosophy, the herd of travellers at Cairo is still divided 
m opinion about the magician, some holding his performance to be 
" all humbug," others darkly hinting that " there may be something 
in it." 

390 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

not removed till the wound heals, which amongst this 
people of simple life, generally takes place by first inten- 
tion. Ulcers are common in Al-Hijaz, as indeed all over 
Arabia. We read of them in ancient times. In a.d. 
504, the poet and warrior, Amr al-Kays, died of this 
dreadful disease, and it is related that when Mohammed 
Abu Si Mohammed, in a.h. 132, conquered Al-Yaman with 
an army from Al-Hijaz, he found the people suffering 
from sloughing and mortifying sores, so terrible to look 
upon that he ordered the sufferers to be burnt alive. 
Fortunately for the patients, the conqueror died suddenly 
before his inhuman mandate was executed. These sores 
here, as in Al-Yaman, 1 are worst when upon the shin 
bones; they eat deep into the leg, and the patient dies 
of fever and gangrene. They are treated on first ap- 
pearance by the actual cautery, and, when practicable, 
by cutting off the joint; the drugs popularly applied are 
Tutiya (tutty) and verdigris. There is no cure but rest, 
a generous diet, and change of air. 

By the above short account it will be seen that the 
Arabs are no longer the most skilful physicians in the 
world. They have, however, one great advantage in their 
practice, and they are sensible enough to make free use 
of it. As the children of almost all the respectable 
citizens are brought up in the Desert, the camp becomes 
to them a native village. In cases of severe wounds or 
chronic diseases, the patient is ordered off to the Black 
Tents, where he lives as a Badawi, drinking camels' 
milk (a diet for the first three or four days highly cathartic), 
and doing nothing. This has been the practice from time 
immemorial in Arabia, whereas Europe is only beginning 
to systematise the adhibition of air, exercise, and simple 
living. And even now we are obliged to veil it under the 
garb of charlatanry — to call it a "milk-cure" in Switzer- 

1 They distinguish, however, between the Hijaz " Nasur " and 
the " Jurh al-Yamani," or the " Yaman Ulcer." 




?lf v -<■■■' 

Ml 5 

X VIII. —A l-Madinah . 391 

land, a "water-cure" in Silesia, a "grape-cure" in France, 
a "hunger-cure" in Germany, and other sensible names 
which act as dust in the public eyes. 

Al-Madinah consists of three parts, — a town, a fort, 
and a suburb little smaller than the body of the place. The 
town itself is about one-third larger than Suez, or nearly 
half the size of Meccah. It is a walled enclosure forming 
an irregular oval with four gates. The Bab al-Shami, or 
"Syrian Gate," in the North-West side of the enceinte, 
leads towards Jabal Ohod, Hamzah's burial-place, and the 
mountains. In the Eastern wall, the Bab al-Jum'ah, or 
Friday Gate, opens upon the Nij'd road and the cemetery, 
Al-Bakia. Between the Shami and the Jum'ah gates, 
towards the North, is the Bab al-Ziyafah (of Hospitality) ; 
and Westwards the Bab al-Misri (Egyptian) opens upon 
the plain called the Barr al-Manakhah. The Eastern and 
the Egyptian gates are fine massive buildings, with double 
towers close together, painted with broad bands of red, 
yellow, and other colors, not unlike that old entrance of 
the Cairo citadel which opens upon the Ramayliyah plain. 
They may be compared with the gateway towers of the 
old Norman castles — Arques, for instance. In their 
shady and well-watered interiors, soldiers keep guard, 
camel-men dispute, and numerous idlers congregate, to 
enjoy the luxuries of coolness and of companionship. Be- 
yond this gate, in the street leading to the Mosque, is 
the great bazar. Outside it lie the Suk al-Khuzayriyah, 
or greengrocers' market, and the Suk al-Habbabah, or 
the grain bazar, with a fair sprinkling of coffee-houses. 
These markets are long masses of palm -leaf huts, 
blackened in the sun and wind, of a mean and squalid 
appearance, detracting greatly from the appearance of 
the gates. Amongst them there is a little domed and 
whitewashed building, which I was told is a Sabil or 
public fountain. In the days of the Prophet the town 

392 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

was not walled. Even in Al-Idrisi's time (twelfth cen- 
tury), and as late as Bartema's (eighteenth century), the 
fortifications were mounds of earth, made by order of 
Kasim al-Daulat al-Ghori, who re-populated the town 
and provided for its inhabitants. Now, the enceinte is 
in excellent condition. The walls are well built of granite 
and lava blocks, in regular layers, cemented with lime ; 
they are provided with "Mazghal" (or "Matras") long 
loopholes, and "Shararif" or trefoil-shaped crenelles: 
in order to secure a flanking fire, semicircular towers, also 
loopholed and crenellated, are disposed in the curtain at 
short and irregular intervals. Inside, the streets are what 
they always should be in these torrid lands, deep, dark, 
and narrow, in few places paved — a thing to be deprecated 
— and generally covered with black earth well watered 
and trodden to hardness. The most considerable lines 
radiate towards the Mosque. There are few public build- 
ings. The principal Wakalahs are four in number ; 
one is the Wakalat Bab Salam near the Harim, another 
the Wakalat Jabarti, and two are inside the Misri gate; 
they all belong to Arab citizens. These Caravanserais 
are used principally as stores, rarely for dwelling-places 
like those of Cairo; travellers, therefore, must hire houses 
at a considerable expense, or pitch tents to the detriment 
of health and to their extreme discomfort. The other 
public buildings are a few mean coffee-houses and an 
excellent bath in the Harat Zarawan, inside the town : 
far superior to the unclean establishments of Cairo, it 
borrows something from the luxury of Stambul. The 
houses are, for the East, well built, flat-roofed and double- 
storied; the materials generally used are a basaltic scoria, 
burnt brick, and palm wood. The best enclose spacious 
courtyards and small gardens with wells, where water 
basins and date trees gladden the owners' eyes. The 
latticed balconies, first seen by the overland European 
traveller at Malta, are here common, and the windows are 


%' 4 

^ *-J ) 


M .1 



•^aatt** 1 * 

* » i>Z 

a lit '/ 

A r VIII.— A l-Madinah . 393 

mere apertures in the wall, garnished, as usual in Arab 
cities, with a shutter of planking. Al-Madinah fell rapidly 
under the Wahhabis, but after their retreat, it soon rose 
again, and now it is probably as comfortable and flourish- 
ing a little city as any to be found in the East. It contains 
between fifty and sixty streets, including the alleys and 
culs-de-sac. There is about the same number of Harat or 
quarters ; but I have nothing to relate of them save their 
names. Within the town few houses are in a dilapidated 
condition. The best authorities estimate the number of 
habitations at about 1500 within the enceinte, and those 
in the suburb at 1000. I consider both accounts exag- 
gerated; the former might contain 800, and the Manakhah 
perhaps 500 ; at the same time I must confess not to have 
counted them, and Captain Sadlier (in a.d. 1819) de- 
clares that the Turks, who had just made a kind of 
census, reckoned 6000 houses and a population of 18,000 
souls. Assuming the population to be 16,000 (Burck- 
hardt raises it as high as 20,000), of which 9000 occupy 
the city, and 7000 the suburbs and the fort, this would 
give a little more than twelve inhabitants to each house, a 
fair estimate for an Arab town, where the abodes are large 
and slaves abound. 1 

The castle joins on to the North- West angle of the city 
enceinte, and the wall of its Eastern outwork is pierced for 

1 I afterwards received the following information from Mr. Charles 
Cole, H.B.M. Vice-Consul at Jeddah, a gentleman well acquainted with 
Western Arabia, and having access to official information : " The popu- 
lation of Al-Madinah is from 16,000 to 18,000, and the Nizam troops 
in garrison 400. Meccah contains about 45,000 inhabitants, Yambu' 
from 6000 to 7000, Jeddah about 2500 (this I think is too low), and 
Taif 8000. Most of the troops are stationed at Meccah and at Jeddah. 
In Al-Hijaz there is a total force of five battalions, each of which 
ought to contain 800 men ; they may amount to 3500, with 500 artil- 
lery, and 4500 irregulars, though the muster rolls bear 6000. The 
Government pays in paper for all supplies, (even for water for the 
troops,) and the paper sells at the rate of forty piastres per cent." 

394 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

a communication through a court strewed with guns and 
warlike apparatus, between the Manakhah Suburb and 
the Bab al-Shami, or the Syrian Gate. Having been 
refused entrance into the fort, I can describe only its 
exterior. The outer wall resembles that of the city, only 
its towers are more solid, and the curtain appears better 
calculated for work. Inside, a donjon, built upon a rock, 
bears proudly enough the banner of the Crescent and the 
Star ; its whitewashed walls make it a conspicuous object, 
and guns pointed in all directions, especially upon the 
town, project from their embrasures. The castle is said 
to contain wells, bomb-proofs, provisions, and munitions 
of war ; if so, it must be a kind of Gibraltar to the Bad- 
awin and the Wahhabis. The garrison consisted of a Nisf 
Urtah, 1 or half battalion (four hundred men) of Nizam 
infantry, commanded by a Pasha ; his authority also 
extends to a Sanjak, or about five hundred Kurdish and 
Albanian Bash-Buzuks, whose duty it is to escort 
caravans, to convey treasures, and to be shot at in the 
Passes. The Madani, who, as usual with Orientals, 
take a personal pride in their castle, speak of it with 
much exaggeration. Commanded by a high line of rocks 
on the North-West, and built as it is in most places with- 
out moat, glacis, earthwork, or outworks, a few shells 
and a single battery of siege guns would soon render it 
untenable. In ancient times it has more than once been 
held by a party at feud with the town, for whose mimic 
battles the Barr al-Manakhah was a fitting field. North- 
ward from the fort, on the road to Ohod, but still within 
fire, is a long many-windowed building, formerly Da'ud 
Pasha's palace. In my time it had been bought by 
Abbas Pasha of Egypt. 

i The Urtah or battalion here varies from 800 to 1000 men. Of 
these, four form one Alai or regiment, and thirty-six Alai an Urdu or 
camp. This word Urdu, pronounced " Ordoo," is the origin of our 
" horde." 

X VI II. —A l-Madinah . 395 

The suburbs lie to the South and West of the town. 
Southwards they are separated from the enceinte by a 
wide road, called the Darb al-Janazah, the Road of Biers, 
so called because the corpses of certain schismatics, who 
may not pass through the city, are carried this way to 
their own cemetery near the Bab al-Jumah, or Eastern 
Gate. Westwards, between Al-Madinah and its faubourg, 
lies the plain of Al-Manakhah, about three-quarters of a 
mile long, by three hundred yards broad. The straggling 
suburbs occupy more ground than the city : fronting the 
enceinte they are without walls ; towards the West, where 
open country lies, they are enclosed by mud or raw brick 
ramparts, with little round towers, all falling to decay. 
A number of small gates lead from the suburb into the 
country. The only large one, a poor copy of the Bab 
al-Nasr at Cairo, is the Ambari or Western entrance, 
through which we passed into Al-Madinah. The suburb 
contains no buildings of any consequence, except the 
Khaskiyah, or official residence of the Muhafiz (governor), 
a plain building near the Barr al-Manakhah, and the 
Khamsah Masajid, or the Five Mosques, which every 
Zair is expected to visit. They are 

The Prophet's Mosque in the Manakhah. 

Abu Bakr's near the Ayn al-Zarka. 

Ali's Mosque in the Zukak al-Tayyar of the 
Manakhah. Some authors call this the " Musalla al-Id," 
because the Prophet here prayed the Festival Prayer. 

Omar's Mosque, near the Bab Kuba of the Manak- 
hah, and close to the little torrent called Al-Sayh. 

Belal's Mosque, celebrated in books ; I did not see 
it, and some Madani assured me that it no longer exists. 

A description of one of these buildings will suffice, 
for they are all similar. Mohammed's Mosque in the 
Manakhah stands upon a spot formerly occupied, some 
say, by the Jami Ghamamah. Others believe it to be 
founded upon the Musalla al-Nabi, a place where the 

396 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Apostle recited the first Festival prayers after his arrival at 
Al-Madinah, and used frequently to pray, and to address 
those of his followers who lived far from the Harim, 1 
or Sanctuary. It is a trim modern building of cut stone 
and lime in regular layers, of parallelogramic shape, 
surmounted by one large and four small cupolas. These 
■ are all whitewashed; and the principal is capped with a 
large crescent, or rather a trident, rising from a series of 
gilt globes: the other domes crown the several corners. 
The minaret is of the usual Turkish shape, with a conical 
roof, and a single gallery for the Mu'ezzin. An Acacia- 
tree or two on the Eastern side, and behind it a wall-like 
line of mud houses, finish the coup-d'ceil; the interior of 
this building is as simple as is the exterior. And here I 
may remark that the Arabs have little idea of splendour, 
either in their public or in their private architecture. 
Whatever strikes the traveller's eye in Al-Hijaz is always 
either an importation or the work of foreign artists. This 
arises from the simple tastes of the people, combined, 
doubtless, with their notable thriftiness. If strangers 
will build for them, they argue, why should they build 
for themselves ? Moreover, they have scant inducement 
to lavish money upon grand edifices. Whenever a dis- 
turbance takes place, domestic or from without, the 
principal buildings are sure to suffer. And the climate is 
inimical to their enduring. Both ground and air at Al- 
Madinah, as well as at Meccah, are damp and nitrous in 
winter, in summer dry and torrid : the lime is poor ; palm- 
timber soon decays : even foreign wood-work suffers, and 
a few years of neglect suffice to level the proudest pile 
with the dust. 

The suburbs to the South of Al-Madinah are a collection 

1 One of the traditions, "Between my house and my place of 
prayers is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise," has led divines to 
measure the distance : it is said to be 1000 cubits from the Bab Salam 
of the Harim to this Musalla. 

: ^*^ 

XVIII.—Al-Madinah. 397 

of walled villages, with plantations and gardens between. 
They are laid out in the form, called here, as in Egypt, 
Hosh — court-yards, with single-storied tenements opening 
into them. These enclosures contain the cattle of the 
inhabitants ; they have strong wooden doors, shut at 
night to prevent "lifting," and they are capable of being 
stoutly defended. The inhabitants of the suburb are for 
the most part Badawi settlers, and a race of schismatics 
who will be noticed in another chapter. Beyond these 
suburbs, to the South, as well as to the North and North- 
east, lie gardens and extensive plantations of palm-trees. 




The principal places of pious visitation in the vicinity 
of Al-Madinah are the Mosques of Kuba, the Cemetery 
Al-Bakia, and the martyr Hamzah's tomb, at the foot of 
Mount Ohod. These the Zair is directed by all the Olema 
to visit, and on the holy ground to pray Allah for a blessing 
upon himself, and upon his brethren of the faith. 

Early one Saturday morning, I started for Kuba with 
a motley crowd of devotees. Shaykh Hamid, my Muzaw- 
wir, was by my side, mounted upon an ass more miserable 
than I had yet seen. The boy Mohammed had procured 
for me a Meccan dromedary, with splendid trappings, a 
saddle with burnished metal peaks before and behind, 
covered with a huge sheepskin died crimson, and girthed 
over fine saddle-bags, whose enormous tassels hung 
almost to the ground. The youth himself, being too 
grand to ride a donkey, and unable to borrow a horse, 
preferred walking. He was proud as a peacock, being 
habited in a style somewhat resembling the plume of that 
gorgeous bird, in the coat of many colours — yellow, red, 
and golden flowers, apparently sewed on a field of bright 
green silk — which cost me so dear in the Harim. He 
was armed, as indeed all of us were, in readiness for the 
Badawin, and he anxiously awaited opportunities of dis- 
charging his pistol. Our course lay from Shaykh 
Hamid's house in the Manakhah, along and up the 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 399 

Fiumara, " Al-Sayh," and through the Bab Kuba, a little 
gate in the suburb wall, where, by-the-bye, my mounted 
companion was nearly trampled down by a rush of half- 
wild camels. Outside the town, in this direction, South- 
ward, is a plain of clay, mixed with chalk, and here and 
there with sand, whence protrude blocks and little ridges 
of basalt. As far as Kuba, and the Harrah ridge to the 
West, the earth is sweet and makes excellent gugglets. 1 
Immediately outside the gate I saw a kiln, where they 
were burning tolerable bricks. Shortly after leaving the 
suburb, an Indian, who joined our party upon the road, 
pointed out on the left of the way what he declared was 
the place of the celebrated Khandak, or Moat, the Torres 
Vedras of Arabian History. 2 

Presently the Nakhil, or palm plantations, began. 
Nothing lovelier to the eye, weary with hot red glare, 
than the rich green waving crops and the cool shade, the 
"food of vision," as the Arabs call it, and "pure water to 
the parched throat." For hours I could have sat and 
looked at it. The air was soft and balmy ; a perfumed 
breeze, strange luxury in Al-Hijaz, wandered amongst 
the date fronds ; there were fresh flowers and bright foliage ; 
in fact, at Midsummer, every beautiful feature of Spring. 
Nothing more delightful to the ear than the warbling of 
the small birds, that sweet familiar sound ; the splashing 
of tiny cascades from the wells into the wooden troughs, 

1 The Baradiyah or gugglets of Al-Madinah are large and heavy, 
of a reddish-grey colour, and celebrated for cooling water, a property 
not possessed by those of Meccan fabric. 

2 I afterwards found reason to doubt this location. Ibn Jubayr 
(12th century), places it an arrow-shot from the Westward wall of Al- 
Madinah, and seems to have seen it. M. C. de Perceval states, I 
know not upon whose authority, that it was dug to protect the North- 
west, the North, and the North-eastern sides of the town : this is 
rendered highly improbable by the features of the ground. The 
learned are generally agreed that all traces of the moat had disap- 
peared before our 15th century. 

4-00 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

and the musical song of the water-wheels. Travellers — 
young travellers — in the East talk of the "dismal grating," 
the " mournful monotony," and the " melancholy creaking 
of these dismal machines." To the veteran wanderer 
their sound is delightful from association, reminding him 
of fields and water-courses, and hospitable villages, and 
plentiful crops. The expatriated Nubian, for instance, 
listens to the water-wheel with as deep emotion as the 
Ranz des Vachcs ever excited in the hearts of Switzer 
mercenary at Naples, or " Lochaber no more," among a 
regiment of Highlanders in the West Indies. 

The date-trees of Al-Madinah merit their celebrity. 
Their stately columnar stems, here, seems higher than in 
other lands, and their lower fronds are allowed to tremble 
in the breeze without mutilation. 1 These enormous 
palms were loaded with ripening fruits ; and the clusters, 
carefully tied up, must often have weighed upwards of 
eighty pounds. They hung down between the lower 
branches by a bright yellow stem, as thick as a man's 
ankle. Books enumerate a hundred and thirty-nine varie- 
ties of trees ; of these between sixty and seventy are well 
known, and each is distinguished, as usual among Arabs, 
by its peculiar name. The best kind is Al-Shelebi ; it is 
packed in skins, or in flat round boxes covered with paper, 
somewhat in the manner of French prunes, and sent as 
presents to the remotest parts of the Moslem world. 2 
The fruit is about two inches long, with a small stone, 

i In Egypt, the lower branches of the date are lopped off about 
Christmas time to increase the flavour of the fruit ; and the people 
believe that without this "Taklim," as it is called, the tree would die. 
In Upper Egypt., however, as at Al-Madinah, the fronds are left un- 

2 The visitor from Al-Madinah would be badly received by the 
women of his family, if he did not present them on his return with a 
few boxes of dates, some strings of the same fruit, and skins full of 
henna powder. Even the Olema allow such articles to be carried 
away, although they strictly forbid keepsakes of earth or stone. 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 401 

and has a peculiar aromatic flavour and smell ; it is seldom 
eaten by the citizens on account of the price, which 
varies from two to ten piastres the pound. The tree, 
moreover, is rare, and is said to be not so productive as 
the other species. The Ajwah 1 date is eaten, but not sold, 
because a tradition of the Prophet declares, that whoso 
breaketh his fast every day with six or seven of these 
fruits, need fear neither poison nor magic. The third 
kind, Al-Hilwah, also a large date, derives a name 
from its exceeding sweetness : of this palm the Moslems 
relate that the Prophet planted a stone, which in a 
few minutes grew up and bore fruit. Next comes 
Al-Birni, of which was said, " It causeth sickness to 
depart, and there is no sickness in it." The Wahshi on 
one occasion bent its head, and"salamed" to Mohammed 
as he ate its fruit, for which reason even now its lofty tuft 
turns earthwards. The Sayhani (Crier) is so called, 
because when the founder of Al-Islam, holding Ali's hand,, 
happened to pass beneath, it cried, " This is Mohammed 
the Prince of Prophets, and this^ is AH the Prince of the 
Pious, and the Progenitor of the Immaculate Imams. 2 " 
Of course the descendants of so intelligent a vegetable 
hold high rank in the kingdom of palms, and the vulgar 
were in the habit of eating the Sayhani and of throwing 
the stones about the Harim. The Khuzayriyah is thus 
named because it preserves its green colour, even when 
ripe ; it is dried and preserved as a curiosity. The Jabali 
is the common fruit : the poorest kinds are the Laun and 

1 This fruit must not be confounded with the enucleated conserve 
of dates, which in Arabia, as in Egypt, is known by the name of 
Ajwah. The Arabs infinitely despise the stuff sold at Alexandria and 
Cairo, declaring that it is fit only for cows. The Ajwah of the Oases, 
particularly of Siwah, is of excellent quality. 

2 So in a.d. 1272 the Crucifix spoke to St. Thomas Aquinas. 
Superstitions are of no age or country. 

VOL 1. 26 

4-02 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

the Hilayah, costing from four to seven piastres per mudd. 1 
I cannot say that the dates of Al-Madinah are finer 
than those of Meccah, although it is highly heretical to 
hold such tenet. The produce of the former city was the 
favourite food of the Prophet, who invariably broke his 
fast with it : a circumstance which invests it with a 
certain degree of relic-sanctity. The citizens delight in 
speaking of dates as an Irishman does of potatoes, with a 
manner of familiar fondness : they eat them for medicine 
ao veil as for food ; " Rutab," or wet dates, being held to 
be the most saving, as it is doubtless the most savoury, of 
remedies. The fruit is prepared in a great variety of 
ways : the favourite dish is a broil with clarified butter, 
extremely distasteful to the European palate. The date 
is also left upon the tree to dry, and then called " Balah" : 
this is eaten at dessert as the " Nukliyat " — the quatvc 
mendiants of Persia. Amongst peculiar preparations must be 
mentioned the " Kulladat al-Sham 2 " (necklace of Sham). 
The unripe fruit is dipped in boiling water to preserve its 
gamboge colour, strung upon a thick thread and hung 
out in the air to dry. These strings are worn all over 
Al-Hijaz as necklaces by children, who seldom fail to 
munch the ornament when not in fear of slappings ; and 
they are sent as presents to distant countries. 

i At Al-Madinah— 
12 Dirhams (drams) make i Wukkiyah (ounce). 

20 Wukkiyah ,, 1 Rati (pound). 

33 Wukkiyah and 3 (drams) „ 1 Wukkah (less than 2 lbs). 
4 Wukkah „ 1 Mudd. 

24 Mudd ,, 1 Ardeb. 

This Rati, or pound, is the larger one applied to particular articles of 
commerce — such as meat, vegetables, and clarified butter ; coffee, 
rice, soap, &c, are sold by the smaller Rati of Meccah, equal to 140 
dirhams. In Egypt, the Rati is 144 Dirhams or 12 Wukkiyahs, — 
about 1 lb. 2 oz. and 8 dwts. troy. 

2 " Necklace of Syria." I was told they derive this name from 
the place where they are made. " Al-Safra " (on the Meccah road) 
being also called Al-Sham (Damascus). 

26 2 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 403 

January and February are the time for the mascula- 
tion 1 of the palm. The " Nakhwali," as he is called, opens 
the female flower, and having inserted the inverted male 
blossom, binds them together : this operation is performed, 
as in Egypt, upon each cluster. 2 The fruit is ripe about 
the middle of May, and the gathering of it forms the 
Arabs' " vendemmia." The people make merry the more 
readily because their favourite diet is liable to a variety 
of accidents : droughts injure the tree, locusts destroy the 
produce, and the date crop, like most productions which 
men are imprudent enough to adopt singly as the staff of 
life, is often subject to complete failure. 

One of the reasons for the excellence of Madinah 
dates is the quantity of water they obtain : each garden 
or field has its well ; and even in the hottest weather the 
Persian wheel floods the soil every third day. It has 
been observed that the date-tree can live in dry and 
barren spots ; but it loves the beds of streams and places 
where moisture is procurable. The palms scattered over 
the other parts of the plain, anol depending solely upon 
rain water, produce less fruit, and that too of an inferior 

Verdure is not usually wholesome in Arabia, yet 
invalids leave the close atmosphere of Al-Madinah to seek 
health under the cool shades of Kuba. The gardens are 
divided by what might almost be called lanes, long narrow 
lines with tall reed fences on both sides. The graceful 
branches of the Tamarisk, pearled with manna, and cot- 
toned over with dew, and the broad leaves of the castor 
plant, glistening in the sun, protected us from the morning 

1 This is a translation of the Arab word " Tazkir," which is cer- 
tainly more appropriate than our " caprification " applied to dates. 

2 The male tree is known by its sterility. In some countries 
only the fecundating pollen is scattered over the female flower, and 
this doubtless must have been Nature's method of impregnating the 

404 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

rays. The ground on both sides of the way was sunken, 
the earth being disposed in heaps at the foot of the fences, 
an arrangement which facilitates irrigation, by giving a 
fall to the water, and in some cases affords a richer soil 
than the surface. This part of the Madinah plain, how- 
ever, being higher than the rest, is less subject to the 
disease of salt and nitre. On the way here and there the 
earth crumbles and looks dark under the dew of morning ; 
but nowhere has it broken out into that glittering efflor- 
escence which denotes the last stage of the attack. The 
fields and gardens are divided into small oblongs, separated 
from one another by little ridges of mould which form 
diminutive water-courses. Of the cereals there are 
luxuriant maize, wheat, and barley, but the latter two are 
n small quantities. Here and there patches of " Barsim," 
or Egyptian clover, glitter brightly in the sunbeams. 
The principal vegetables are Badanjan (Egg-plant), the 
Bamiyah (a kind of esculent hibiscus, called Bhendi in 
India), and Mulukhiyah (Corchovis olitovius), a mucilagi- 
nous spinage common throughout this part of the East. 
These three are eaten by citizens of every rank ; they 
are, in fact, the potatoes and the greens of Arabia. I 
remarked also onions and leeks in fair quantities, a few 
beds of carrots and beans ; some Fiji (radishes), Lift 
(turnips), gourds, cucumbers, and similar plants. Fruit 
trees abound. There are five descriptions of vines, the 
best of which is Al-Sharifi, a long white grape of a flavour 
somewhat resembling the produce of Tuscany. 1 Next to 
it, and very similar, is Al-Birni. The Hijazi is a round 
fruit, sweet, but insipid, which is also the reproach of the 
Sawadi, or black grape. And lastly, the Raziki is a small 
white fruit, with a diminutive stone. The Nebek, Lote, 

1 The resemblance is probably produced by the similarity of 
treatment. At Al-Madinah, as in Italy, the vine is " married " to 
some tall tree, which, selfish as a husband, appropriates to itself the 
best of everything, — sun, breeze, and rain. 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 405 

or Jujube, is here a fine large tree with a dark green leaf, 
roundish and polished like the olive ; it is armed with a 
short, curved, and sharp thorn, 1 and bears a pale straw- 
coloured berry, about the size of the gooseberry, with red 
streaks on the side next the sun. Little can be said in 
favour of the fruit, which has been compared successively 
by disappointed " Lotus eaters 2 " to a bad plum, an unripe 
cherry, and an insipid apple. It is, however, a favourite 
with the people of Al-Madinah, who have reckoned many 
varieties of the fruit : Hindi (Indian), Baladi ("native"), 
Tamri (date-like), and others. There are a few peaches, 
hard like the Egyptian, and almost tasteless, fit only for 
stewing, but greedily eaten in a half-ripe state ; large 
coarse bananas, lime trees, a few water-melons, figs, and 
apples, but neither apricots nor pears. 3 There are three 
kinds of pomegranates : the best is the Shami (Syrian) : 
it is red outside, very sweet, and costs one piastre : the 
Turki is large, and of a white colour : and the Misri has 
a greenish rind, and a somewhat sub-acid and harsh 
flavour ; the latter are sold at one-fourth the price of the 
best. I never saw in the East, except at Meccah, finer 
fruits than the Shami : almost stoneless like those of 
Maskat, they are delicately perfumed, and as large as an 
infant's head. Al-Madinah is celebrated, like Taif, for its 
" Rubb Rumman," a thick pomegranate syrup, drunk 

1 This thorn (the Rhamnus Nabeca, or Zizyphus Spina Christi) 
is supposed to be that which crowned the Saviour's head. There 
are Mimosas in Syria ; but no tree, save the fabled Zakhum, could 
produce the terrible apparatus with which certain French painters of 
the modern school have attempted to heighten the terrors of the 

2 For what reason I am entirely unable to guess, our dictionaries 
translate the word Sidr (the literary name of the tree that bears the 
Nebek) " Lote-tree." No wonder that believers in " Homeric writ " 
feel their anger aroused by so poor a realisation of the beautiful 

3 The only pears in Al-Hijaz, I believe, are to be found at Taif, 
to which place they were transplanted from Egypt. 

406 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccali. 

with water during the hot weather, and esteemed cooling 
and wholesome. 

After threading our way through the gardens, an 
operation requiring less time than to describe them, we 
saw, peeping through the groves, Kuba's simple minaret. 
Then we came in sight of a confused heap of huts and 
dwelling-houses, chapels and towers with trees between, 
and foul lanes, heaps of rubbish, and barking dogs, — the 
usual material of a Hijazi village. Having dismounted, we 
gave our animals in charge of a dozen infant Badawin, 
the produce of the peasant gardeners, who shouted 
"Bakhshish" the moment they saw us. To this they 
were urged by their mothers, and I willingly parted with 
a few paras for the purpose of establishing an intercourse 
with fellow-creatures so fearfully and wonderfully re- 
sembling the tailless baboon. Their bodies, unlike those 
of Egyptian children, were slim 1 and straight, but their 
ribs stood out with curious distinctness ; the colour of the 
skin was that oily lamp-black seen upon the face of a 
European sweep; and the elf-locks, thatching the cocoa- 
nut heads, had been stained by the sun, wind, and rain to 
that reddish-brown hue which Hindu romances have 
appropriated to their Rakshasas or demons. Each anatomy 
carried in his arms a stark-naked miniature of himself, 
fierce-looking babies with faces all eyes, and the strong 
little wretches were still able to extend the right hand 
and exert their lungs with direful clamour. Their mothers 
were fit progenitors for such progeny: long, gaunt, with 
emaciated limbs, wall-sided, high-shouldered, and straight- 
backed, with pendulous bosoms, spider-like arms, and 
splay feet. Their long elf-locks, wrinkled faces, and high 
cheek-bones, their lips darker than the epidermis, hollow 
staring eyes, sparkling as if to light up the extreme 

i Travellers always remark the curious pot-bellied children on 
the banks of the Nile. This conformation is admired by the Egyptians, 
who consider it a sign of strength and a promise of fine growth. 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 407 

ugliness around, and voices screaming as though in a 
perennial rage, invested them with all the "charms of 
Sycorax." These "Houris of Jahannam" were habited 
in long night-gowns dyed blue to conceal want of washing, 
and the squalid children had about a yard of the same 
material wrapped round their waists for all toilette. This 
is not an overdrawn portrait of the farmer race of Arabs, 
the most despised by their fellow-countrymen, and the 
most hard-favoured, morally as well as physically, of all the 

Before entering the Mosque of Al-Kuba 1 it will be 
necessary to call to mind some passages of its past his- 
tory. When the Apostle's she-camel, Al-Kaswa, as he 
was approaching Al-Madinah after the flight from Meccah, 
knelt down here, he desired his companions to mount the 
animal. Abu Bakr and Omar 2 did so ; still she sat upon 
the ground; but when Ali obeyed the order, she arose. 
The Apostle bade him loose her halter, for she was 
directed by Allah, and the Mosque walls were built upon 
the line over which she trod. It was the first place of 
public prayer in Al-Islam. Mohammed laid the first 
brick, and with an"Anzah," or iron-shod javelin, marked 
out the direction of prayer 3 : each of his successors fol- 
lowed his example. According to most historians, the 

1 I believe Kuba to be about three miles S. S. E. of Al-Madinah ; 
but Al-Idrisi, Ibn Haukal, and Ibn Jubayr all agree in saying two 

2 Osman, the fourth Companion, was absent at this time, not 
having returned from the first or Little Flight to Abyssinia. 

3 Some believe that in this Mosque the direction of prayer was 
altered from Jerusalem to Meccah, and they declare, as will presently 
be seen, that the Archangel Gabriel himself pointed out the new line. 
M. C. de Perceval forgets his usual accuracy when he asserts " le 
Mihrab de la Mosquee de Medine, qui fut d'abord place au Nord, fut 
transfere au Midi : et la Mosquee prit le nom de ' Masjid-el-Kiblatayn,' 
Mosquee des deux Kiblah." In the first place, the Mihrab is the in- 
vention of a later date, about ninety years ; and, secondly, the title of 
Al-Kiblatyn is never now given to the Mosque of Al-Madinah. 

408 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

land belonged to Abu Ayyub the Ansari, the Apostle's 
host; for which reason the "Bayt Ayyub," his descen- 
dants, still perform the service of the Mosque, keep the 
key, and share with the Bawwabs, or porters, the alms 
and fees here offered by the Faithful. Others declared 
that the ground was the property of one Linah, a woman 
who was in the habit of tethering her ass there. 1 The 
Apostle used to visit it every Saturday 2 on foot, and always 
made a point of praying the dawn-prayer there on the 
17th Ramazan. 3 A number of traditions testify to its 
dignity: of these, two are especially significant. The 
first assures all Moslems that a prayer at Kuba is equal 
to a Lesser Pilgrimage at Meccah in religious efficacy; 
and the second declares that such devotion is more ac- 
ceptable to the Deity than prostrations at the Bayt al- 
Mukuddas (Jerusalem). Moreover, sundry miracles took 
place here, and a verset of the Koran descended from 
heaven. For which reasons the Mosque was much 
respected by Omar, who, once finding it empty, swept it 
himself with a broom of thorns, and expressed his wonder 
at the lukewarmness of Moslem piety. It was originally 
a square building of very small size ; Osman enlarged it 
in the direction of the minaret, making it sixty-six cubits 
each way. It is no longer "mean and decayed" as in 
Burckhardt's time: the Sultan Abd al-Hamid, father of 

1 This degrading report caused certain hypocrites to build a 
kind of rival chapel called the Mosque Zarar. It was burnt to the 
ground shortly after its erection, and all known of it is, that it stood 
near Kuba. 

2 Some say on Monday, probably because on that day Mohammed 
alighted at Kuba. But the present practice of Al-Islam, handed down 
from generation to generation, is to visit it on the Saturday. 

3 There is on this day at Kuba a regular Ziyarat or visitation. 
The people pray in the Harim of Al-Madinah, after which they re- 
pair to the Kuba Mosque, and go through the ceremonies which in 
religious efficacy equal an Umrah or Lesser pilgrimage. In books I 
have read that the 15th of Ramazan is the proper day. 

XI X. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 409 

the Sultan Mahmud, erected a minaret of Turkish shape 
and a neat structure of cut stone, whose crenelles make 
it look more like a place of defence than of prayer. It 
has, however, no pretentions to grandeur. To the South 
a small and narrow Riwak (porch), with unpretending 
columns, looks out Northwards upon a little open area 
simply sanded over ; and this is the whole building. 

The large Mastabah or stone bench at the entrance 
of the Mosque was crowded with sitting people : we there- 
fore lost no time, after ablution and the Niyat ("the 
Intention ") peculiar to this Visitation, in ascending the 
steps, in pulling off our slippers, and in entering the sacred 
building. We stood upon the Musalla al-Nabi (the 
Prophet's place of Prayer) 1 : after Shaykh Nur and Hamid 
had forcibly cleared that auspicious spot of a devout In- 
dian, and had spread a rug upon the dirty matting, we 
performed a two-bow prayer, in front of a pillar into which 
a diminutive marble Mihrab or niche had been inserted 
by way of memento. Then came the Dua, or supplica- 
tion, which was as follows : 

" O Allah ! bless and preserve, and increase, and per- 
petuate, and benefit, and be propitous to, our Lord Moham- 
med, and to his Family, and to his Companions, and be 
Thou their Preserver ! O Allah ! this is the Mosque Kuba, 
and the Place of the Prophet's Prayers. O Allah ! pardon 
our Sins, and veil our Faults, and place not over us one 
who feareth not Thee, and who pitieth not us, and pardon 
us, and the true Believers, Men and Women, the Quick of 
them and the Dead : for verily Thou, O Lord, art the 
Hearer, the near to us, the Answerer of our Supplications." 
After which we recited the Testification and the Fatihah, 
and we drew our palms as usual down our faces. 

We then moved away to the South-Eastern corner of 
the edifice, and stood before a Mihrab in the Southern wall. 

1 This is believed to be the spot where the Prophet performed his 
first Rukat, or prayer-bow. 

4-io Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

It is called " Takat al-Kashf " or " Niche of Disclosure, " 
by those who believe that as the Prophet was standing 
undecided about the direction of Meccah, the Archangel 
Gabriel removed all obstructions to his vision. There 
again we went through the two-bow prayer, the Supplica- 
tion, the Testification, and the Fatihah, under difficulties, 
for people mobbed us excessively. During our devotions, 
I vainly attempted to decipher a Cunc inscription fixed in 
the wall above and on the right of the Mihrab, — my regret 
however, at this failure was transitory, the character not 
being of an ancient date. Then we left the Riwak, and 
despite the morning sun which shone fiercely with a sickly 
heat, we went to the open area where stands the " Mabrak 
al-Nakah," or the " Place of kneeling of the she-Drome- 
dary. 1 " This, the exact spot where Al-Kaswa sat down, 
is covered with a diminutive dome of cut stone, supported 
by four stone pillars : the building is about eight feet high 
and a little less in length and in breadth. It has the 
appearance of being modern. On the floor, which was 
raised by steps above the level of the ground, lay, as usual, 
a bit of dirty matting, upon which we again went through 
the ceremonies above detailed. 

Then issuing from the canopy into the sun, a little out- 
side the Riwak and close to the Mabrak, we prayed upon 
the " Makan al-Ayat, 2 ," or the " Place of Signs." Here 
was revealed to Mohammed a passage in the Koran 
especially alluding to the purity of the place and of the 
people of Kuba, " a Temple founded in Purity from its 
first Day ; " and again : " there live Men who love to be 

i " Mabrak " is the locative noun from the triliteral root 
" Baraka — he blessed, or he (the camel) knelt upon the ground." 
Perhaps this philological connection may have determined Moham- 
med to consider the kneeling of the dromedary a sign that Allah had 
blessed the spot. 

2 "Ayat" here means a verset of the Koran. Some authors 
apply the above quoted lines to the Prophet's Mosque at Al-Madinah 
exclusively, others to both buildings. 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 411 

cleansed, and verily Allah delights in the Clean." The 
Prophet exclaimed in admiration, "O ye Sons of Amr ! 
what have ye done to deserve all this Praise and Benefi- 
cence ? " when the people offered him an explanation of 
their personal cleanliness which I do not care to repeat. 
The temple of Kuba from that day took a fresh title — 
Masjid al-Takwa, or the " Mosque of Piety." 

Having finished our prayers and ceremonies at the 
Mosque of Piety, we fought our way out through a crowd 
of importunate beggars, and turning a few paces to the 
left, halted near a small chapel adjoining the South- West 
angle of the larger temple. We there stood at a grated 
window in the Western wall, and recited a Supplication, 
looking the while reverently at a dark dwarf archway 
under which the Lady Fatimah used to sit grinding grain 
in a hand-mill. The Mosque in consequence bears the 
name of Sittna Fatimah. A surly-looking Khadim, or 
guardian stood at the door demanding a dollar in the most 
authoritative Arab tone — we therefore did not enter. 

At Al-Madinah and at Meccah the traveller's hand 
must be perpetually in his pouch : no stranger in Paris or in 
London is more surely or more severely taken in. Already 
I began to fear that my eighty pounds would not suffice 
for all the expenses of sight-seeing, and the apprehension 
was justified by the sequel. My only friend was the boy 
Mohammed, who displayed a fiery economy that brought 
him into considerable disrepute with his countrymen. 
They saw with emotion that he was preaching parsimony 
to me solely that I might have more money to spend at 
Meccah under his auspices. This being palpably the case, 
I threw all the blame of penuriousness upon the young 
Machiavel's shoulders, and resolved, as he had taken charge 
of my finances at Al-Madinah, so at Meccah to administer 
them myself. 

After praying at the window, to the great disgust of 
the Khadim, who openly asserted that we were " low 

412 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

fellows," we passed through some lanes lined with beggars 
and Badawi children, till we came to a third little Mosque 
situated due South of the larger one. This is called the 
Masjid Arafat, and is erected upon a mound also named 
Tall Arafat, because on one occasion the Prophet, being 
unable to visit the Holy Mountain at the pilgrimage season, 
stood there, saw through the intervening space, and in 
spirit performed the ceremony. Here also we looked into 
a window instead of opening the door with a silver key, 
and the mesquin appearance of all within prevented my 
regretting the necessity of economy. In India or in Sind 
every village would have a better Mosque. Our last visit 
was to a fourth chapel, the Masjid Ali, so termed because 
the Apostle's son-in-law had a house upon this spot. 1 After 
praying there — and terribly hot the little hole was ! — we 
repaired to the last place of visitation at Kuba — a large 
deep well called the Bir al-Aris, in a garden to the West 
of the Mosque of Piety, with a little oratory adjoining it. 
A Persian wheel was going drowsily round, and the cool 
water fell into a tiny pool, whence it whirled and bubbled 
away in childish mimicry of a river. The music sounded 
sweet in my ears ; I stubbornly refused to do any more 
praying — though Shaykh Hamid, for form's sake, reiterated 
with parental emphasis, " how very wrong it was," — and 
I sat down, as the Prophet himself did not disdain to do, 
with the resolution of enjoying on the brink of the well a 
few moments of unwonted " Kayf." The heat was over- 
powering, though it was only nine o'clock, the sound of 
the stream was soothing, that water-wheel was creaking a 
lullaby, and the limes and pomegranates, gently rustling, 
shed voluptuous fragrance through the morning air. I fell 
asleep, and — wondrous the contrast ! — dreamed that I was 
once more standing 

" By the wall whereon hangeth the crucified vine," 

i Ibn Jubayr informs us that Abu Bakr, Ayishah, and Omar had 
habitations at Kuba. 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 413 

looking upon the valley of the Lianne, with its glaucous 
ssas and grey skies, and banks here and there white with 

The Bir al-Aris, 1 so called after a Jew of Al-Madinah, 
is one which the Apostle delighted to visit. He would sit 
upon its brink with his bare legs hanging over the side, 
and his companions used to imitate his example. This 
practice caused a sad disaster. In the sixth year of his 
caliphate, Osman, according to Abulfeda and Yakut, 
dropped from his finger the prophetie ring which, engraved 
in three lines with " Mohammed — Apostle — (of) Allah," 
had served to seal the letters sent to neighbouring kings, 
and had descended to the first three successors. 2 The 
precious article was not recovered after three days' search, 
and the well was thenceforward called Bir al-Khatim — of 
the Seal Ring. It is also called the Bir al-Taflat — of 
Saliva 3 — because the Prophet honoured it by expectoration, 
as, by-the-bye, he seems to have done to almost all the 
wells in Al-Madinah. The effect of the operation upon the 
Bir al-Aris, says the historians, was to sweeten the water, 
which before was salt. Their testimony, however, did not 
prevent my detecting a pronounced medicinal taste in the 
lukewarm draught drawn for me by Shaykh Hamid. In 
Mohammed's days the total number of wells is recorded to 

1 Some authors mention a second Bir al-Aris, belonging in part 
to the Caliph Osman. According to Yakut, "Aris" is the Hebrew or 
Syriac word for a peasant ; he quotes the plural form Arisun and 

2 Others assert, with less probability, that the article in question 
was lost by one Ma'akah, a favourite of Osman. As that ill-fated 
Caliph's troubles began at the time of this accident, the ring is gener- 
ally compared to Solomon's. Our popular authors, who assert that 
Mohammed himself lost the ring, are greatly in error. 

3 According to some authors, Mohammed drew a bucket of 
water, drank part of the contents, spat into the rest, and poured it 
back into the well, which instantly became sweet. Ibn Jubayr applies 
the epithet Bir Al-Taflat peculiarly to the Aris well : many other 
authors are not so exact. 

414 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

have been twenty : most of them have long since disap- 
peared ; but there still remain seven, whose waters were 
drunk by the Prophet, and which, in consequence, the 
Zair is directed to visit. 1 They are known by the classical 
title of Saba Abar, or the seven wells, and their names are 
included in this couplet : 

" Aris and Ghars, and Rumah and Buza'at 
And Busat, with Bayruha and Ihn." 2 

1 The pious perform the Lesser Ablution upon the brink of the 
seven wells, and drink of the remnant of the water in " Tabarruk " or 
to secure the blessings of God. 

2 Some alter the 3rd, the 5th, and the 7th names to Bir al-Nabi, 
a well in the Kuba gardens, Bir al-Ghurbal, and Bir al-Fukayyir, 
where the Prophet, together with Salman the Persian and others of 
his companions, planted date trees. The Bir al-Aris has already 
been described. The Bir al-Ghars, Gharas or Ghurs, so called, it is 
said, from the place where it was sunk, about half a mile N.E. of the 
Kuba Mosque, is a large well with an abundance of water. Moham- 
med used to perform ablution on its brink, and directed Ali to wash 
his corpse with seven skins full of the water. The Bir Rumah is a 
large well with a spring at the bottom, dug in the Wady al-Akik, to 
the north of the Mosque Al-Kiblatayn. It is called " Kalib Mazni " 
(the old well of Mazni), in this tradition ; " the best of old wells is the 
old well of Mazni." And ancient, it must be if the legend say true, 
that when Abu Karb besieged Al-Madinah (a.d. 495), he was relieved 
of sickness by drinking its produce. Some assert that it afforded the 
only sweet water in Al-Madinah when the Prophet arrived there. 
The town becoming crowded by an influx of visitors, this water 
was sold by its owner, a man of the Benu Ghaffar tribe, or according 
to others, by one Mazni, a Jew. Osman at last bought it by paying 
upwards of 100 camels. The Bir Buza'at, or Biza'at, or Bisa'at, is in 
the Nakhil or palm plantations, outside the Bab al-Shami or North- 
western gate of Al-Madinah on the right of the road leading to Ohod. 
Whoever washes in its waters three times shall be healed. The Bir 
Busat is near the Bakia cemetery, on the left of the road leading to 
Kuba. The Prophet used to bathe in the water, and he declared it 
healthy to the skin. The Bir Bayruha, under whose trees the Prophet 
was fond of sitting, lies outside the Bab Dar al-Ziyafah, leading to 
Mount Ohod. The Ramus gives the word " Bayruha upon the 
measure of Fayluha." Some authorities upon the subject of Ziyarat, 
write Bayruha, "Bir Ha," — the well of Ha, and variously suppose 

XIX. — A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 415 

After my sleep, which was allowed to last until a pipe or 
two of Latakia had gone round the party, we remounted 
our animals. Returning towards Al-Madinah, my com- 
panions pointed out to me, on the left of the village, a 
garden called Al-Madshuniyah. It contains a quarry of 
the yellow loam or bole-earth, called by the Arabs, Tafl, by 
the Persians, Gil-i-Sarshui, and by the Sindians, Metu. It 
is used as soap in many parts of the East, and, mixed 
with oil, it is supposed to cool the body, and to render 
the skin fresh and supple. It- is related that the Prophet 
cured a Badawi of the Benu Haris tribe, of fever, by wash- 
ing him 'with a pot of Tafl dissolved in water, and hence 
the earth of Al-Madinah derived its healing fame. As 
far as I could learn from the Madani, this clay is no 
longer valued by them, either medicinally or cosmetically : 
the only use they could mention was its being eaten by 
the fair sex, when in the peculiar state described by 
" chlorosis." 

" Ha " to be the name of a man, a woman, or aplace. Yahut men- 
tions other pronunciations: "Bariha," .''Bariha," :, Bayriha," &c. 
The Bir Ihn is in a large garden E. of Kuba. Little is said in books 
about this well, and the people of Al-Madinah do not know the name. 




On the morning of Sunday, the twenty-third ZvTl 
Ka'adah (28th August, 1853), arrived from Al-Sham, or 
Damascus, 1 the great Caravan popularly called Hajj al- 
Shami, the "Damascus pilgrimage," as the Egyptian 
Cafila is Al-Misri, 2 or the Cairo pilgrimage. It is the 
main stream which carries off all the small cur- 
rents that, at this season of general movement, flow from 
Central Asia towards the great centre of the Islamitic 
world, and in 1853 it amounted to about seven thousand 
souls. The arrival was anxiously expected by the people 
for several reasons. In the first place, it brought with it 
a new curtain for the Prophet's Hujrah, the old one 
being in a tattered condition; secondly, it had charge of 
the annual stipends and pensions of the citizens; and 
thirdly, many families expected members returning under 
its escort to their homes. The popular anxiety was 
greatly increased by the disordered state of the 
country round about ; and, moreover, the great caravan 
had been one day late, generally arriving on the morning 
of the twenty-second Zu'l Ka'adah. 3 

1 This city derives its names, the " Great Gate of Pilgrimage," 
and the " Key of the Prophet's Tomb " from its being the gathering- 
place of this caravan. 

2 The Egyptians corruptly pronounce "Al-Misr," i.e. Cairo, as 
" Al-Masr." 

3 Note to Fourth Edition. — I reprint the following from the Il- 
lustrated News in proof that the literati of England have still something 

XX. — The Visitation of HamzaWs Tomb. 417 

During the night three of Shaykh Hamid's brothers, 
who had entered as Muzawwirs with the Hajj, came 
suddenly to the house : they leaped off their camels, and 
lost not a moment in going through the usual scene of 
kissing, embracing, and weeping bitterly for joy. I arose 
in the morning, and looked out from the windows of the 
Majlis. The Barr al-Manakhah, from a dusty waste 
dotted with a few Badawi hair-tents, had assumed all the 
various shapes and the colours of a kaleidoscope. The 
eye was bewildered by the shifting of innumerable details, 
in all parts totally different from one another, thrown 
confusedly together in one small field ; and, however 
jaded with sight-seeing, it dwelt with delight upon the 
variety, the vivacity, and the intense picturesqueness of 
the scene. In one night had sprung up a town of tents 
of every size, colour, and shape ; round, square, and 
oblong ; open and closed, — from the shawl-lined and gilt- 
topped pavilion of the Pasha, with all the luxurious 
appurtenances of the Harim, to its neighbour the little 
dirty green "rowtie" of the tobacco-seller. They were 
pitched in admirable order : here* ranged in a long line, 

to learn :— " On the 1st instant the annual ceremony of the departure 
of the Sure-emini with the Imperial gifts for the Prophet's tomb at 
Mecca took place in front of the palace at Constantinople. The Levant 
Herald states that the presents, which consist, beside the large money 
donation, of rich shawls and gold-woven stuffs, were brought out of 
the Imperial apartments and packed in presence of the Sultan, on 
two beautiful camels, which, after the delivery of the usual prayers, 
were then led in grand procession, accompanied by all the high 
officers of state, to the landing-place at Cabatash, where the Sure- 
emini and camels were embarked on a Government steamer and 
ferried over to Scutari. There the holy functionary will remain some 
days, till the ' faithful' of the capital and those who have come from 
the interior have joined him, when the caravan will start for Damas- 
cus. At this latter city the grand rendezvous takes place, and, that 
accomplished, the great caravan sets out for Mecca under the Emir- 
el-Hadj of the year. The Imperial presents on this occasion cost 
more than ^20,000." 
VOL. 1. 27 

41 8 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

where a street was required ; there packed in dense 
masses, where thoroughfares were unnecessary. But 
how describe the utter confusion in the crowding, the 
bustling, and the vast variety and volume of sound ? 
Huge white Syrian dromedaries, compared with which 
those of Al-Hijaz appeared mere pony-camels, jingling 
large bells, and bearing Shugdufs 1 (litters) like miniature 
green tents, swaying and tossing upon their backs ; 
gorgeous Takht-rawan, or litters carried between camels 
or mules with scarlet and brass trappings ; Badawin 
bestriding naked-backed " Daluls 2 " (dromedaries), and 
clinging like apes to the hairy humps •; Arnaut, Kurd, 
and Turkish Irregular Cavalry, fiercer looking in their 
mirth than Roman peasants in tneir rage ; fainting 
Persian pilgrims, forcing their stubborn camels to kneel, 
or dismounted grumbling from jaded donkeys ; Kahwajis, 
sherbet sellers, and ambulant tobacconists crying their 
goods ; country-people driving flocks of sheep and goats 
with infinite clamour through lines of horses fiercely 
snorting and biting and kicking and rearing ; towns- 
people seeking their friends ; returned travellers exchang- 
ing affectionate salutes ; devout Hajis jostling one 
another, running under the legs of camels, and tumbling- 
over the tents' ropes in their hurry to reach the Harim ; 
cannon roaring from the citadel ; shopmen, water-carriers, 
and fruit vendors fighting over their bargains ; boys 
with loud screams bullying heretics ; a well-mounted 

i The Syrian Shugduf differs entirely from that of Al-Hijaz. It 
is composed of two solid wooden cots about four feet in length, slung 
along the camel's sides and covered over with cloth, in the shape of a 
tent. They are nearly twice as heavy as the Hijazi litter, and yet a 
Syrian camel-man would as surely refuse to put one of the latter 
upon his beast's back, as the Hijazi to carry a Syrian litter. See 
p. 223, ante. 

2 This is ths Arabic modern word, synonymous with the Egyptian 
Hajin, namely, a she-dromedary. The word " Xakah," at present 
popular in Al-Hijaz, means a she-dromedary kept for breeding as well 
as for riding. 

27 2 

•BR» : T 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzah's Tomb. 419 

party of fine old Arab Shaykhs of the Hamidah clan, 
preceded by their varlets, performing the Arzah or war 
dance, — compared with which the Pyrenean bear's per- 
formance is grace itself, — firing their duck-guns upwards, 
or blowing the powder into the calves of those before 
them, brandishing their swords, leaping frantically the 
while, with their bright coloured rags floating in the wind, 
tossing their long spears tufted with ostrich feathers high 
in the air, reckless where they fall ; servants seeking 
their masters, and masters their tents, with vain cries of 
Ya Mohammed 1 ; grandees riding mules or stalking on 
foot, preceded by their crowd-beaters, shouting to clear 
the way ; here the loud shrieks of women and children, 
whose litters are bumping and rasping against one 
another ; there the low moaning of some poor wretch 
that is seeking a shady corner to die in : add a thick 
dust which blurs the outlines like a London fog, with a 
flaming sun that draws sparkles of fire from the burnished 
weapons of the crowd, and the brass balls of tent and 
litter ; and — I doubt, gentle reader, that even the length, 
• the jar, and the confusion of this description is adequate 
to its subject, or that any "word-painting" of mine can 
convey a just idea of the scene. 

This was the day appointed for our visiting the 
martyrs of Ohod. After praying the dawn prayers as 
directed at the Harim, we mounted our donkeys ; and, 
armed with pistols and knives, we set out from the city. 
Our party was large. Sa'ad the Demon had offered to 
accompany us, and the bustle around kept him in the best 
of humours ; Omar Effendi was also there, quiet-looking 
and humble as usual, leading his ass to avoid the trouble 
of dismounting every second minute. 2 I had the boy 

1 One might as sensibly cry out " John " in an English theatre. 

2 Respectable men in Al-Hijaz, when they meet friends, ac- 
quaintances, or superiors, consider it only polite to dismount from a 

420 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca h. 

Mohammed and my "slave," and Shaykh Hamid was 
attended by half a dozen relations. To avoid the crush 
of the Barr al-Manakhah, we made a detour Westwards, 
over the bridge and down the course of the torrent-bed 
" Al-Sayh." We then passed along the Southern wall of 
the castle, traversed its Eastern outwork, and issued from 
the Bab al-Shami. During the greater part of the time 
we were struggling through a living tide ; and among 
dromedaries and chargers a donkey is by no means a 
pleasant monture. With some difficulty, but without any 
more serious accident than a fall or two, we found our- 
selves in the space beyond and northward of the city. 
This also was covered with travellers and tents, amongst 
which on an eminence to the left of the road, rose con- 
spicuous the bright green pavilion of the Emir Al-Hajj, 
the commandant of the Caravan. 1 Hard by, half its 
height surrounded by a Kanat or tent wall, stood the 
Syrian or Sultan's Mahmil (litter), all glittering with 
green and gilding and gold, and around it were pitched 
the handsome habitations of the principal officers and 
grandees of the pilgrimage. On the right hand lay ex- 
tensive palm plantations, and on the left, strewed over 
the plain, were signs of wells and tanks, built to supply 
the Hajj with water. We pass two small buildings, one 
the Kubbat Al-Sabak, or Dome of Precedence, where the 
Prophet's warrior friends used to display their horseman- 

i The title of the Pasha who has the privilege of conducting the 
Caravan. It is a lucrative as well as an honourable employment, for 
the Emir enjoys the droit d'aubaine, becoming heir to the personal 
property of all pilgrims who die in the Holy Cities or on the line of 
march. And no Persian, even of the poorest, would think of under- 
taking a pilgrimage by this line of country, without having at least 
^80 in ready money with him. The first person who bore the title of 
Emir Al-Hajj was Abu Bakr, who, in the ninth year of the Hijrah, 
led 300 Moslems from Al-Madinah to the Meccah pilgrimage. On 
this occasion idolaters and infidels were for the first time expelled 
the Holy City. 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzatis Tomb. 421 

ship; the second the Makan, or burial-place of Sayyidna 
Zaki al-Din, one of Mohammed's multitudinous descend- 
ants. Then we fall into a plain, resembling that of Kuba, 
but less fertile. While we are jogging over it, a few 
words concerning Mount Ohod may not be misplaced. A 
popular distich says, 

" Verily there is healing to the eye that looks 
Unto Ohod and the two Harrahs 1 (ridges) near." 

And of this holy hill the Apostle declared, " Ohod is a 
Mountain which loves Us and which We love : it is upon 
the Gate of Heaven 2 ;" adding, 

1 " Harrah" from Harr (heat) is the generic name of lava, porous 
basalt, scoriae, greenstone, schiste, and others supposed to be of 
igneous origin. It is also used to denote a ridge or hill of such forma- 
tion. One Harrah has already been mentioned in Chapter XV. The 
second is on the road to Ohod. There is a third Harrah, called Al- 
Wakin or Al-Zahrah, about one mile Eastward of Al-Madinah. Here 
the Prophet wept, predicting that the last men of his faith would be 
foully slain. The prophecy was fulfilled in the days of Yazid, when 
the people of Al-Madinah filled their assembly with slippers and 
turbands to show that on account of his t abominations they had cast 
off their allegiance as a garment. The "Accursed" sent an aged 
sinner, Muslim bin Akbah al-Marai, who, though a cripple, defeated 
the Madani in a battle called the " Affair of the Ridge," slaying of 
them 10,000 citizens, 1700 learned and great men, 700 teachers of the 
Koran, and 97 Karashi nobles. This happened in the month of Zu'l 
Hijjah, a.h. 63. For three days the city was plundered, the streets 
ran blood, dogs ate human flesh in the Mosque, and no fewer than 1000 
women were insulted. It was long before Al-Madinah recovered from 
this fatal blow, which old Muslim declared would open to him the 
gates of Paradise. The occurrence is now forgotten at Al-Madinah, 
though it will live in history. The people know not the place, and 
even the books are doubtful whether this Harrah be not upon the spot 
where the Khandak or moat was. 

2 Meaning that on the Day of Resurrection it shall be so treated. 
Many, however, suppose Ohod to be one of the four hills of Paradise. 
The other three, according to Al-Tabrani from Amr bin Auf, are Sinai, 
Lebanon, and Mount Warkan on the Meccan road. Others suppose 
Ohod to be one of the six mountains which afforded materials for the 
Kaabah, viz., Abu Kubays, Sinai, Kuds (at Jerusalem), Warkan and 

422 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

" And Ayr 1 is a Place which hates Us and which We 
hate: it is upon the Gate of Hell." The former 
sheltered Mohammed in the time of danger ; there- 
fore, on Resurrection Day it will be raised to Para- 
dise : whereas Jabal Ayr, its neighbour, having been 
so ill-judged as to refuse the Prophet water on an 
occasion while he thirsted, will be cast incontinently into 
Jahannam. Moslem divines, be it observed, ascribe to 
Mohammed miraculous authority over animals, vegetables, 
and minerals, as well as over men, angels, and jinnis. 
Hence the speaking wolf, the weeping post, the oil-stone, 
and the love and hate of these two mountains. It is 
probably one of the many remains of ancient paganism 
pulled down and afterwards used to build up the edifice 
of Al- Islam. According to the old Persians, the sphere 
has an active soul. Some sects of Hindus believe "mother 
earth," upon whose bosom we little parasites crawl, to be 
a living being. This was a dogma also amongst the 
ancient Egyptians, who denoted it by a peculiar symbol, 
— the globe with human legs. Hence the " Makrokos- 
mos " of the plagiaristic Greeks, the animal on a large 
scale, whose diminutive was the " Mikrokosmos " — man. 
Tota natuva, repeats Malpighi, existit in minimis. Amongst 
the Romans, Tellus or Terra was a female deity, 
anthropomorphised according to their syncretic system, 
which furnished with strange gods their Pantheon, but 
forgot to append the scroll explaining the inner sense of 

Radhwah near Yambu'. Also it is said that when the Lord con- 
versed with Moses on Sinai, the mountain burst into six pieces, 
three of which flew to Al-Madinah, Ohod, Warkan and Radhwah, 
and three to Meccah, Hira (now popularly called Jabal Nur), Sabir, 
(the old name for Jabal Muna), and Saur. 

i "Ayr" means a "wild ass," whereas Ohod is derived from 
Ahad, "one," — so called because fated to be the place of victory to 
those who worship one God. The very names, say Moslem divines, 
make it abundantly evident that even as the men of Al-Madinah were 
of two parties, friendly and hostile to the Prophet, so were these 

XX. — The Visitation of HcunzaWs Tomb. 423 

the symbol. And some modern philosophers, Kepler, 
Blackmore, and others, have not scrupled to own their 
belief in a doctrine which as long as " Life " is a mere 
word on man's tongue, can neither be proved nor disproved. 
The Mohammedans, as usual, exaggerate the dogma, — 
a Hadis related by Abu Hurayrah casts on the day of 
judgment the sun and the moon into hell fire. 

Jabal Ohod owes its present reputation to a cave 
which sheltered the Apostle when pursued by his enemies 1 ; 
to certain springs of which he drank, 2 and especially to its 
being the scene of a battle celebrated in Al-Islam. On 
Saturday, the nth Shawwal, in the third year of the 
Hijrah (26th January, a.d. 625), Mohammed with seven 
hundred men engaged three thousand Infidels under the 
command of Abu Sufiyan; ran great personal danger, 
and lost his uncle Hamzah, the "Lord of Martyrs." On 
the topmost pinnacle, also, is the Kubbat Harun, the 
dome erected over Aaron's remains. It is now, I was 
told, in a ruinous condition, and is placed upon the "pin- 
nacle of seven hills 3 " in a position somewhat like that 
of certain buildings on St. Angelo in the Bay of Naples. 
Alluding to the toil of reaching it, the Madani quote a 
facetious rhyme inscribed upon the wall by one of their 
number who had wasted his breath: — 
"Malun ibn Malun 
Man tala'a Kubbat Harun !" 

Anglice, "The man must be a ruffian who climbs up to 
Aaron's dome." Devout Moslems visit Ohod every 
Thursday morning after the dawn devotions in the 

1 This Cave is a Place of Visitation, but I did not go there, as it 
is on the Northern flank of the hill, and all assured me that it con- 
tained nothing worth seeing. Many ignore it altogether. 

2 Ohod, it is said, sent forth in the Prophet's day 360 springs, of 
which ten or twelve now remain. 

3 Meaning that the visitor must ascend several smaller eminences. 
The time occupied is from eight to nine hours, but I should not 
advise my successor to attempt it in the hot weather. 

424 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

Harim; pray for the Martyrs; and, after going through 
the ceremonies, return to the Harim in time for mid-day 
worship. On the 12th of Rajab, Zairs come out in large 
bodies from the city, encamp on the plain for three or 
four days, and pass the time in feasting, jollity, and de- 
votion, as is usual at pilgrimages and at saints' festivals in 

After half an hour's ride we came to the Mustarah 
or resting-place, so called because the Prophet sat here 
for a few minutes on his way to the battle of Ohod. It is 
a newly-built square enclosure of dwarf whitewashed 
walls, within which devotees pray. On the outside front- 
ing Al-Madinah is a seat like a chair of rough stones. 
Here I was placed by my Muzawwir, who recited an 
insignificant supplication to be repeated after him. At 
its end with the Fatihah and accompaniments, we re- 
mounted our asses and resumed our way. Travelling 
onwards, we came in sight of the second Harrah or ridge. 
It lies to the right and left of the road, and resembles 
lines of lava, but I had not an opportunity to examine it 
narrowly. 1 Then we reached the gardens of Ohod, which 
reflect in miniature those of Kuba; and presently we 
arrived at what explained the presence of verdure and 
vegetable life, — a deep Fiumara full of loose sand and 
large stones denoting an impetuous stream. It flows along 
the Southern base of Ohod, said to be part of the plain of 
Al-Madinah, and it collects the drainage of the high lands 
lying to the South and South-east. The bed becomes 
impassable after rain, and sometimes the torrents over- 
flow the neighbouring gardens. By the direction of this 
Fiumara I judged that it must supply the Ghabbah or 
"basin" in the hills north of the plain. Good authori- 

1 When engaged in such a holy errand as this, to have ridden 
away for the purpose of inspecting a line of black stone, would have 
been certain to arouse the suspicions of an Arab. Either, he would 
argue, you recognise the place of some treasure described in your 
books, or you are a magician seeking a talisman. 

XX. — The Visitation to HamzaWs Tomb. 425 

ties, however, informed me that a large volume of water 
will not stand there, but flows down the beds that wind 
through the Ghats westward of Al-Madinah, and falls 
into the sea near the harbour of Wijh. To the south of 
the Fiumara is a village on an eminence, containing some 
large brick houses now in a ruinous state; these are the 
villas of opulent and religious citizens who visited the 
place for change of air, recreation, and worship at Ham- 
zah's tomb. Our donkeys presently sank fetlock-deep in 
the loose sand of the torrent-bed. Then reaching the 
Northern side, and ascending a gentle slope, we found 
ourselves upon the battle-field. 

This spot, so celebrated in the annals of Al-Islam, 
is a shelving strip of land, close to the Southern base 
of Mount Ohod. The army of the Infidels advanced 
from the Fiumara in crescent shape, with Abu Sufiyan, 
the general, and his idols in the centre. It is distant about 
three miles from Al-Madinah, in a Northerly direction. 1 
All the visitor sees is hard gravelly ground, covered 
with little heaps of various coloured granite, red sand- 
stone, and bits of porphyry, to denote the different places 
where the martyrs fell, and were buried. 2 Seen from 
this point, there is something appalling in the look of 
the Holy Mountain. Its seared and jagged flanks rise 
like masses of iron from the plain, and the crevice into 
which the Moslem host retired, when the disobedience of 
the archers in hastening to plunder enabled Khalid bin 
Walid to fall upon Mohammed's rear, is the only break 
in the grim wall. Reeking with heat, its surface pro- 

1 Most Arab authors place Ohod about two miles N. of Al- 
Madinah. Al-Idrisi calls it the nearest hill, and calculates the distance 
at 6000 paces. Golius gives two leagues to Ohod and Ayr, which is 
much too far. In our popular accounts, " Mohammed posted himself 
upon the hill of Ohod, about six miles from Al-Madinah," two 

2 They are said to be seventy, but the heaps appeared to me at 
least three times more numerous. 





= 4 




1 ; 

426 Pilgrimage to AUMadinah and Meccah. 

duces not one green shrub or stunted tree ; neither bird 
nor beast appeared upon its inhospitable sides, and the 
bright blue sky glaring above its bald and sullen brow, 
made it look only the more repulsive. I was glad to turn 
away my eyes from it. 

To the left of the road North of the Fiumara, and lead- 
ing to the mountains, stands Hamzah's Mosque, which, 
like the Harim of Al-Madinab, is a Mausoleum as well as 
a fane. It is a small strongly built square of hewn stone, 
with a dome covering the solitary hypostyle 
to the South, and the usual minaret. The 
Westward wing is a Zawiyah or oratory, 1 
k frequented by the celebrated Sufi and 
Saint, Mohammed al-Samman, the 
"Clarified Butter-Seller," one of whose 
2. Entrance.' blood, the reader will remember, stood by 

3 ' PaS M^ e arer ding to my side in the person of Shaykh Hamid. 
t Sypost'yie. On the Eastern side of the building a half 

6 " The" ?awi 'ah" and wm & projects; and a small door opens to 
palm trees. the South, upon a Mastabah or stone 
bench five or six feet high : this completes the square of 
the edifice. On the right of the road opposite Hamzah's 
Mosque, is a large erection, now in ruins, containing a 
deep hole leading to a well, with huge platforms for the 
accommodation of travellers. Beyond, towards the moun- 
tains, are the small edifices presently to be described. 

Some Turkish women were sitting veiled upon the 
shady platform opposite the Martyrs' Mosque. At a 
little distance their husbands, and the servants holding 
horses and asses, lay upon the ground, and a large crowd 
of Badawin, boys, girls, and old women, had gathered 
around to beg, draw water, and sell dry dates. They 

1 A Zawiyah in Northern Africa resembles the Takiyah of India, 
Persia, and Egypt, being a monastery for Darwayshes who reside there 
singly or in numbers. A Mosque, and sometimes, according to the 
excellent practice of Al-Islam, a school, are attached to it. 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzalis Tomb. 427 

were awaiting the guardian, who had not yet acknow- 
ledged the summons. After half an hour's vain patience, 
we determined to proceed with the ceremonies. Ascending 
by its steps the Mastabah subtending half the Eastern 
wall, Shaykh Hamid placed me so as to front the tomb. 
There standing in the burning sun, we repeated the 
following prayer : " Peace be upon Thee, O our Lord 
Hamzah ! O Paternal Uncle of Allah's Apostle ! O 
Paternal Uncle of Allah's Prophet ! Peace be upon Thee, 
O Paternal Uncle of Mustafa! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Prince of the Martyrs! O Prince of the Happy! Peace 
be upon Thee, O Lion of Allah ! O Lion of His Prophet ! " 
After which, we asked Hamzah and his companions to 
lend us their aid in obtaining for us and ours pardon, 
worldly prosperity and future happiness. Scarcely had 
we finished, when, mounted on a high-trotting dromedary, 
appeared the emissary of Mohammed Kalifah, descend- 
ant of Al-Abbas, who keeps the key of the Mosque, and 
who receives the fees and donations of the devout. It 
was to be opened for the Turkish pilgrims. I waited to 
see the interior. The Arab drew forth from his pouch, 
with abundant solemnity, a bunch of curiously made 
keys, and sharply directed me to stand away from and 
out of sight of the door. When I obeyed, grumblingly, 
he began to rattle the locks, and to snap the padlocks, 
opening them slowly, shaking them, and making as much 
noise as possible. The reason of the precaution — it 
sounded like poetry if not sense — is this. It is believed 
that the souls of martyrs, leaving the habitations of their 
senseless clay, 1 are fond of sitting together in spiritual 

1 Some historians relate that forty-six years after the battle of 
Ohod, the tombs were laid bare by a torrent, when the corpses ap- 
peared in their winding-sheets as if buried the day before. Some 
had their hands upon their death wounds, from which fresh blood 
trickled when the pressure was forcibly removed. In opposition to 
this Moslem theory, we have that of the modern Greeks, namely, 

428 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccali. 

converse, and profane eye must not fall upon the scene. 
What grand pictures these imaginative Arabs see ! Con- 
ceive the majestic figures of the saints — for the soul with 
Mohammedans is like the old European spirit, a some- 
thing immaterial in the shape of the body — with long 
grey beards, earnest faces, and solemn eyes, reposing 
beneath the palms, and discussing events now buried in 
the gloom of a thousand years. I would fain be hard 
upon this superstition, but shame prevents. When in 
Nottingham, eggs may not be carried out after sunset ; 
when Ireland hears Banshees, or apparitional old women, 
with streaming hair, and dressed in blue mantles ; when 
Scotland sees a shroud about a person, showing his 
approaching death ; when France has her lonp-gavons, 
revenants, and ponies du Vendredi Saint {i.e. hens 
hatched on Good Friday supposed to change colour 
every year) : as long as the Holy Coat cures devotees at 
Treves, Madonnas wink at Rimini, San Januario melts 
at Naples, and Addolorate and Estatiche make converts 
to hysteria at Rome : whilst the Virgin manifests herself 
to children on the Alps and in France, whilst Germany 
sends forth Psychography, whilst Europe, the civilised, 
the enlightened, the sceptical, dotes over clairvoyance 
and table-turning, and whilst even hard-headed America 
believes in " mediums," in " snail-telegraphs," and 
"spirit-rappings," 1 — I must hold the men of Al- 
Madinah to be as wise, and their superstition to 
be as respectable, as that of others. But the reali- 
ties of Hamzah's Mosque have little to recom- 
mend them. The building is like that of Kuba, only 
smaller : and the hypostyle is hung with oil lamps and 
ostrich eggs, the usual paltry furniture of an Arab 

that if the body be not decomposed within a year, it shows that the 
soul is not where it should be. 

i In fairness I must confess to believing in the reality of these 
phenomena, but not in their " spiritual " origin. 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzatis Tomb. 429 

mausoleum. On the walls are a few modern inscriptions 
and framed poetry, written in a calligraphic hand. 
Beneath the Riwak lies Hamzah, under a mass of black 
basaltic stone, 1 resembling that of Aden, only more porous 
and scoriaceous, convex at the top, like a heap of earth, 
without the Kiswah, 2 or cover of a saint's tomb, and railed 
round with wooden bars. At his head, or westward, 
lies Abdullah bin Jaysh, a name little known to fame, 
under a plain whitewashed tomb, also convex ; and in 
the courtyard is a similar pile, erected over the remains 
of Shammas bin Osman, another obscure Companion. 3 
We then passed through a door in the Northern part of 
the Western wall, and saw a diminutive palm plantation 
and a well. After which we left the Mosque, and I was 
under the " fatal necessity " of paying a dollar for the 
honour of entering it. But the guardian promised that 
the chapters Y. S. and Al-Ikhlas should be recited for my 
benefit, the latter forty times ; and if their efficacy be 
one-twentieth part of what men say it is, the reader can- 
not quote against me a certain popular proverb concern- 
ing an order of men easily parted from their money. 

Issuing from the Mosque, we advanced a few paces 
towards the mountain. On our left we passed by — at a 
respectful distance, for the Turkish Hajis cried out that 
their women were engaged in ablution — a large Sahrij or 
tank, built of cut stone with steps, and intended to detain 

1 In Ibn Jubayr's time the tomb was red. 

2 In the common tombs of martyrs, saints, and holy men, this 
covering is usually of green cloth, with long white letters sewn upon 
it. I forgot to ask whether it was temporarily absent from Hamzah's 

3 All these erections are new. In Burckhardt's time they were 
mere heaps of earth, with a few loose stones placed around them. I 
do not know what has become of the third martyr, said to have been 
interred near Hamzah. Possibly some day he may reappear : mean- 
while the people of Al-Madinah are so wealthy in saints, that they 
can well afford to lose sight of one. 

430 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca h. 

the overflowing waters of the torrent. The next place 
we prayed at was a small square, enclosed with dwarf 
whitewashed walls, containing a few graves denoted by 
ovals of loose stones thinly spread upon the ground. 
This is primitive Arab simplicity. The Badawin still 
mark the places of their dead with four stones planted at 
the head, the feet, and the sides ; in the centre the earth 
is either heaped up Musannam (i.e. like the hump of a 
camel), or more generally left Musattah (level). I there- 
fore suppose that the latter was the original shape of the 
Prophet's tomb. Within the enclosure certain martyrs 
of the holy army were buried. After praying there, we 
repaired to a small building still nearer to the foot of the 
mountain. It is the usual cupola springing from four 
square walls, not in the best preservation. Here the 
Prophet prayed, and it is called the Kubbat al-Sanaya, 
" Dome of the Front Teeth," from the following circum- 
stance. Five Infidels were bound by oath to slay Mo- 
hammed at the battle of Ohod: one of these, Ibn 
Kumayyah, threw so many stones, and with such good- 
will, that two rings of the Prophet's helmet were driven 
into his cheek, and blood poured from his brow down his 
mustachios, which he wiped with a cloak to prevent the 
drops falling to the ground. Then Utbah bin Abi YYakkas 
hurled a stone at him, which, splitting his lower lip, 
knocked out one of his front teeth. 1 On the left of the 
Mihrab, inserted low down in the wall, is a square stone, 
upon which Shaykh Hamid showed me the impression of 
a tooth 2 : he kissed it with peculiar reverence, and so did I. 
But the boy Mohammed being by me objurgated — for I 

i Formerly in this place was shown a slab with the mark of a 
man's head — like St. Peter's at Rome — where the Prophet had 
rested. Now it seems to have disappeared, and the tooth has suc- 
ceeded to its honours. 

2 Some historians say that four teeth were knocked out by this 
stone. This appears an exaggeration. 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzatis Tomb. 431 

remarked in him a jaunty demeanour combined with neg- 
lectfulness of ceremonies — saluted it sulkily, muttering 
the while hints about the holiness of his birthplace 
exempting him from the trouble of stooping. Already 
he had appeared at the Harim without his Jubbah, and 
with ungirt loins — in waistcoat and shirt-sleeves. More- 
over, he had conducted himself indecorously by nudging 
Shaykh Hamid's sides during divine service. Feeling 
that the youth's "moral man" was, like his physical, 
under my charge, and determined to arrest a course of 
conduct which must have ended in obtaining for me, 
the master, the reputation of a "son of Belial," I in- 
sisted upon his joining us in the customary two- 
bow prayers. And Sa'ad the Demon, taking my side of 
the question with his usual alacrity when a disturbance 
was in prospect, the youth found it necessary to yield. 
After this little scene, Shaykh Hamid pointed out a 
sprawling inscription blessing the Companions of the 
Prophet. The unhappy Abu Bakr's name had been half 
effaced by some fanatic Shi'ah, a circumstance which 
seemed to arouse all the evil in my companion's nature; 
and, looking close at the wall I found a line of Persian 
verse to this effect : 
" I am weary of my life (Umr), because it bears the name of 
Umar." 1 

We English wanderers are beginning to be shamed out 
of our "vulgar" habit of scribbling names and nonsense 
in noted spots. Yet the practice is both classical and 
oriental. The Greeks and Persians left their marks 
everywhere, as Egypt shows ; and the paws of the Sphinx 
bears scratches which, being interpreted, are found to be 
the same manner of trash as that written upon the remains 
of Thebes in a.d. 1879. And Easterns appear never to 

1 In Persian characters the word Umr, life, and Umar, the name 
of the hated caliph, are written in the same way ; which explains the 


Pilgrimage to Al-Madimh and Meccah, 

enter a building with a white wall without inditing upon it 
platitudes in verse and prose. Influenced by these con- 
siderations, I drew forth a pencil and inscribed in the 
Kubbat al-Sanaya, 

Abdullah, the servant of Allah." 
(a.h.) 1269. 

Issuing from the dome, we turned a few paces to the 
left, passed northwards, and thus blessed the Martyrs of 
Ohod : 

" Peace be upon Ye, O Martyrs ! Peace be upon 
Ye, O Blessed ! ye Pious ! ye Pure ! who fought upon 
Allah's Path the good Fight, who worshipped your Lord 
until He brought you to Certainty. 1 Peace be upon You 
of whom Allah said (viz., in the Koran), ■ Verily repute 
not them slain on God's Path (i.e., warring with Infidels); 
nay, rather they are alive, and there is no Fear upon 
them, nor are they sorrowful ! ' Peace be upon Ye, O 
Martyrs of Ohod ! One and All, and the Mercy of Allah 
and His Blessings." 

Then again we moved a few paces forward and went 
through a similar ceremony, supposing ourselves to be in 
the cave that sheltered the Apostle. After which, return- 
ing towards the torrent-bed by the way we came, we 
stood a small distance from a cupola called Kubbat al- 
Masra. It resembles that of the " Front-teeth," and 
notes, as its name proves, the place where the gallant 

1 That is to say, " to the hour of death." 

XX. — The Visitation of Hamzah 1 s Tomb. 433 

Hamzah fell by the spear of Wahshi the slave. 1 We 
faced towards it and finished the ceremonies of this 
Ziyarat by a Supplication, the Testification, and the 

In the evening I went with my friends to the 
Harim. The minaret galleries were hung with lamps, 
and the inside of the temple was illuminated. It was 

1 When Jubayr bin Mutim was marching to Ohod, according to the 
Rauzat al-Safa, in revenge for the death of his uncle Taymah, he offered 
manumission to his slave Wahshi, who was noted for the use of the 
Abyssinian spear, if he slew Hamzah. The slave sat in ambush behind 
a rock, and when the hero had despatched one Siba'a bin Abd al- 
Ayiz, of Meccah, he threw a javelin which pierced his navel and 
came out of his back. The wounded man advanced towards his 
assassin, who escaped. Hamzah then fell, and his friends coming up, 
found him dead. Wahshi waited till he saw an opportunity, drew 
the javelin from the body, and mutilated it, in order to present 
trophies to the ferocious Hinda (mother of Mu'awiyah), whose father 
Utbah had been slain by Hamzah. The amazon insisted upon seeing 
the corpse : having presented her necklace and bracelets to Wahshi, 
she supplied their place with the nose, the ears, and other parts of 
the dead hero. After mangling the body in a disgusting manner, she 
ended by tearing open the stomach and biting the liver, whence she 
was called " Akkalat al-Akbad." When Mohammed saw the state of 
his father's brother, he was sadly moved. Presently comforted by 
the inspirations brought by Gabriel, he cried, " It is written among 
the people of the seven Heavens, Hamzah, son of Muttalib, is the 
Lion of Allah, and the Lion of his Prophet," and ordered him to be 
shrouded and prayed over him, beginning, says the Jazb al-Kulub, 
with seventy repetitions of " Allah Akbar." Ali had brought in his 
shield some water for Mohammed, from a Mahras or stone trough, 
which stood near the scene of action (M. C. de Perceval translates it 
" un creux de rocher formant un bassin naturel"). But the Prophet 
refused to drink it, and washed with it the blood from the face of him 
" martyred by the side of the Mahras." It was of the Moslems slain 
at Ohod, according to Abu Da'ud, that the Prophet declared that their 
souls should be carried in the crops of green birds, that they might 
drink of the waters and taste the fruits of Paradise, and nestle beneath 
the golden lamps that hang from the celestial ceiling. He also for- 
bade, on this occasion, the still popular practice of mutilating an 
enemy's corpse. 
VOL. I. 28 

434 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

crowded with Hajis, amongst whom were many women, 
a circumstance which struck me from its being unusual. 1 
Some pious pilgrims, who had duly paid for the privilege, 
were perched upon ladders trimming wax candles of vast 
dimensions, others were laying up for themselves rewards 
in Paradise, by performing the same office to the lamps ; 
many were going through the ceremonies of Ziyarat, and 
not a few were sitting in different parts of the Mosque 
apparently overwhelmed with emotion. The boys and 
the beggars were inspired with fresh energy, the Aghawat 
were gruffer and surlier than I had ever seen them, and 
the young men about town walked and talked with a 
freer and an easier demeanour than usual. My old 
friends the Persians — there were about 1200 of them in 
the Hajj Caravan — attracted my attention. The door- 
keepers stopped them with curses as they were about 
to enter, and all claimed from each the sum of five 
piastres, whilst other Moslems were allowed to enter 
the Mosque free. Unhappy men ! they had lost all 
the Shiraz swagger, their mustachios dropped pitiably, 
their eyes would not look any one in the face, and 
not a head bore a cap stuck upon it crookedly. When- 
ever an " 'Ajami," whatever might be his rank, stood 
in the way of an Arab or a Turk, he was rudely 
thrust aside, with abuse muttered loud enough to be heard 
by all around. All eyes followed them as they went 
through the ceremonies of Ziyarat, especially as they 
approached the tombs of Abu Bakr and Omar, — which 
every man is bound to defile if he can, — and the supposed 
place of Fatimah's burial. Here they stood in parties, 
after praying before the Prophet's window : one read from 
a book the pathetic tale of the Lady's life, sorrows, and 

1 The Prophet preferred women and young boys to pray privately, 
and in some parts of Al-Islam they are not allowed to join a congre- 
gation. At Al-Madinah, however, it is no longer, as in Burckhardt's 
time, "thought very indecorous in women to enter the Mosque." 

XX. — The Visitation of HamzaKs Tomb. 435 

mourning death, whilst the others listened to him with 
breathless attention. Sometimes their emotion was too 
strong to be repressed. " Ay Fatimah! Ay Muzlumah ! 
Way ! way ! — O Fatimah ! O thou injured one ! Alas ! 
alas ! " burst involuntarily from their lips, despite the 
danger of such exclamations ; tears trickled down their 
hairy cheeks, and their brawny bosoms heaved with sobs. 
A strange sight it was to see rugged fellows, mountaineers 
perhaps, or the fierce Iliyat of the plains, sometimes weep- 
ing silently like children, sometimes shrieking like hysteric 
girls, and utterly careless to conceal a grief so coarse 
and grisly, at the same time so true and real, that I knew 
not how to behold it. Then the Satanic scowls with 
which they passed by, or pretended to pray at, the hated 
Omar's tomb ! With what curses their hearts are belying 
those mouths full of blessings ! How they are internally 
canonising Fayruz — the Persian slave who stabbed Omar 
in the Mosque — and praying for his eternal happiness in the 
presence of the murdered man, ! Sticks and stones, how- 
ever, and not unfrequently the knife and the sabre, have 
taught them the hard lesson of disciplining their feelings ; 
and nothing but a furious contraction of the brow, a roll of 
the eye, intensely vicious, and a twitching of the muscles 
about the region of the mouth, denote the wild storm of 
wrath within. They generally, too, manage to discharge 
some part of their passion in words. " Hail Omar, thou 
hog ! " exclaims some fanatic Madani as he passes by the 
heretic — a demand more outraging than requiring a red- 
hot, black-north Protestant to bless the Pope. " O Allah ! 
hell him ! " meekly responds the Persian, changing the 
benediction to a curse most intelligible to, and most 
delicious in, his fellows' ears. 1 

1 I have heard of a Persian being beaten to death, because in- 
stead of saying "Peace be with thee, Ya Omar," he insisted upon 
saying "Peace be with thee, Ya Humar (O ass!)" A favourite trick 
is to change " Razi Allahu anhu— may Allah be satisfied with him !"— 

436 Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. 

An evening hour in the steamy heat of the Harim was 
equal to half a dozen afternoons ; and I left it resolved 
never to revisit it till the Hajj departed from Al-Madinah. 
It was only prudent not to see much of the 'Ajamis; 
and as I did so somewhat ostentatiously, my companions 
discovered that the Shaykh Abdullah, having slain many 
of those heretics in some war or other, was avoiding them 
to escape retaliation. In proof of my generalistic quali- 
ties, the rolling down of the water jar upon the heads of 
the Maghribi Pilgrims in the " Golden Thread " was 
quoted, and all offered to fight for me a Voutvance. I took 
care not to contradict the report. 

to " Razi Allahu Aan." This last word is not to be found in Richard- 
son, but any "Luti" from Shiraz or Isfahan can make it intelligible 
to the curious linguist.